Sunday, February 28, 2010

March Release List

Book Received


I've been delinquent doing a 'Books Received' post so this is a rather overweight post. These are some of the non UF/PNR books I received in February running the gamut of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, thrillers and non-fiction. Thanks go out to the generous folks at H.B Fenn, PyrSF, Penguin Canada and many others.

Some are on my radar for review and some unfortunately time does not permit. I've made the odd note here and there for those that are interested.

Numbers by Rachel Ward
February from Scholastic
The premise of this one has me intrigued. I have a giveaway starting tomorrow and it is on my list for books I plan to review.
Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

Petrodor by Joel Shepherd
March from Prometheus Books

Just the kind of fantasy I like to read when time permits.
Book two in the quartet A Trial of Blood & Steel picks up the story of the brave and independent heroine, Sasha, now living in the port city of Petrodor. Away from the hills of her Lenayin homeland, Sasha is making a new life in the dark alleys and wealthy houses of Petrodor. An influential trading centre, Petrodor holds the key to preventing the coming war between Lenayin and the mighty Bacosh. Together with her old mentor Kessligh, Sasha attempts to navigate the political intrigues of the port city and find a way to stop the war. It is the serrin, the beautiful but dangerous people from beyond the Bacosh, who will be the pivotal point in this struggle. How much can Sasha trust her old serrin friend Errollyn? And how much can she trust herself?

Gardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley
March from  Prometheus Books
I've heard nothing but good things about this series. Gorgeous cvover art too!
The Sequel to the landmark SF The Quiet War.

The Quiet War is over. The city states of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, founded by descendants of refugees from Earth's repressive regimes, the Outers, have fallen to the Three Powers Alliance of Greater Brazil, the European Union, and the Pacific Community. A century of enlightenment, rational utopianism and exploration of new ways of being human has fallen dark. Outers are herded into prison camps and forced to collaborate in the systematic plundering of their great archives of scientific and technical knowledge, while Earth's forces loot their cities and settlements and ships, and plan a final solution to the'Outer problem.'

But Earth's victory is fragile, and riven by vicious internal politics. While seeking out and trying to anatomise the strange gardens abandoned in place by the Outers' greatest genius, Avernus, the gene wizard Sri Hong-Owen is embroiled in the plots and counterplots of the family that employs her. The diplomat Loc Ifrahim soon discovers that profiting from victory isn't as easy as he thought. And on Earth, in Greater Brazil, the democratic traditions preserved and elaborated by the Outers have infected a population eager to escape the tyranny of the great families who rule them.

Meanwhile, in the outer reaches of the Solar System, a rag-taggle group of refugees struggle to preserve the last of the old ideals. And on Triton, fanatical members of a cabal prepare for a final battle that threatens to shatter the future of the human species.

After a conflict fought to contain the expansionist, posthuman ambitions of the Outers, the future is as uncertain as ever. Only one thing is clear.No one can escape the consequences of war — especially the victors.

Secret of the Dragon by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
March 16 from Tor Books

This is the 2nd book in the Dragonships of Vindras series following Bones of the Dragon (2008).
New gods are challenging the old high god, Torval, for rulership of the world.  The only way to stop these brash interlopers lies with the five Bones of the Vektia Dragons—the five primal dragons hidden away by the dragon goddess, Vindrash, during the creation of the world.  Without these dragons, one of the new gods, Aelon, cannot seize power.  The only hope of the Vindrasi lies in finding the dragon bones before the followers of Aelon can use them to destroy the old gods.  But the Vindrasi gods have a traitor in their midst…

In the land of mortals, Raegar, a Vindraisi turned Aelon warrior-priest, searches for the spirit bones.  The gods have a champion of their own—Skylan Ivorson, sea-raider and high chief of the Vindrasi clans, and sworn enemy to Raegar.  But Skylan is a prisoner on his own ship. The ship’s dragon, Kahg, has vanished and some believe he is dead.  Skylan and his people are taken as captives to Sinaria, where they must fight in a game known as the Para Dix. The fates of men and gods and are dragons are rushing headlong to destruction. Skylan can stop the calamity, but only if he discovers the secret of the dragon.

The Alchemy of Murder by Carol McCleary
March 16 from Tor/Forge Books
Doesn't this sound like a lot fun? 
The world’s most famous reporter, the intrepid Nellie Bly, teams up with science fiction genius Jules Verne, the notorious wit and outrageous rogue Oscar Wilde, and the greatest microbe-hunter in history, Louis Pasteur.  Together, they must solve the crime of the century.

They are all in Paris—the capital of Europe and center of world culture—for the 1889 World’s Fair.  A spectacular extravaganza dedicated to new industries, scientific discoveries, and global exploration, its gateway is the soaring Eiffel Tower.  But an enigmatic killer stalks the streets and a virulent plague is striking down Parisians by the thousands.  Convinced that the killings are connected to the pandemic, Nellie is determined to stop them both... no matter what the risks.

The Long Man by Steve Engelhart
March 16 from Tor Books
Unfamiliar with the author I discovered that STEVE ENGLEHART is known to millions of comics readers as the author of such comics as Captain America, The Justice League of America, and Batman: the Dark Detective. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
In The Point Man, DJ Max August was thrust into a hidden war between the forces of chaos and order, where he learned how to use magick and become Timeless!

More than twenty-five years later, Max is summoned by a friend to save Dr. Pamela Blackwell from a mysterious force that is using magick to kill her. Pam’s research could save the lives of countless millions, putting her in the crosshairs of the FRC, a cabal of powerbrokers intent on world domination.

From San Francisco to Barbados to the shores of Suriname, Max and Pam must fight off magick-wielding assassins and legions of zombies. Max may be powerful and Timeless, but he’s not indestructible. He’s going to have to keep his wits about him if he’s going to stop the FRC before they kill millions.

Supernatural enemies, dazzling magic, and romance abound in this page-turner from a longtime master of storytelling.

Arms-Commander by L.E. Modesitt
January from Tor Books
The sixteenth entry in his Saga of Recluce series.
Arms-Commander takes place ten years after the end of The Chaos Balance and tells the story of the legendary Saryn. The keep of Westwind, in the cold mountainous heights called the Roof of the World, is facing attack by the adjoining land of Gallos. Arthanos, son and heir to the ailing Prefect of Gallos, wishes to destroy Westwind because the idea of a land where women rule is total anathema to him.

Saryn, Arms-Commander of Westwind, is dispatched to a neighboring land, Lornth, to seek support against the Gallosians. In the background, the trading council of Suthya is secretly and informally allied with Gallos against Westwind and begins to bribe lord-holders in Lornth to foment rebellion and civil war. They hope to create such turmoil in Lornth that the weakened land will fall to Suthya. But Zeldyan, regent of Lornth, has problems in her family. To secure Zeldyan’s aid, Saryn must pledge her personal support—and any Westwind guard forces she can raise—to the defense of Zeldyan and her son. The fate of four lands, including Westwind, rests on Saryn’s actions.

Coming of the Storm by W. Micahel Gear & Kathleen O'Neal Gear
February from Tor Books
This one is definitely ging into my TBR stack. I love a good preiod fantasy.
From New York Times bestselling novelists W. Michael and Kathleen O'Neal Gear comes a landmark new series portraying the devastating clash of cultures that followed the European invasion of early America. Dramatic, authentic, and deeply moving, this first book in the Contact series tells the story of the blood-drenched years that followed Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto's landing in "La Florida" in 1539 — as seen entirely through the eyes of two courageous Native Americans.

Black Shell, an exiled Chickasaw trader, is fascinated by the pale, bearded newcomers who call themselves "Kristianos," and not even the wise counsel of Pearl Hand, the extraordinary and beautiful woman who has consented to be his mate, can dissuade him. It will unfortunately take a first-hand lesson in the Kristianos' unfathomable brutality for Black Shell to fully comprehend the dangers that these invaders pose to his people's way of life.

While his first instinct is to run away with Pearl Hand, somewhere the Kristianos cannot find them, Black Shell has been called to a greater destiny by the Spirit Being known as Horned Serpent. With Pearl Hand by his side, Black Shell must find a way to unite the disparate tribes and settlements of his native land and overcome the merciless armies of de Soto, which will stop at nothing to attain wealth and power.

For years readers have urged the Gears to bring the clash of Native American and European cultures to life as only they can. Now, with Coming of the Storm, the Gears unleash their expansive breadth of knowledge and stunning writing talents to dispel the myths and falsehoods surrounding Hernando de Soto, as they paint avivid portrait of the heroic men and women who fought a terrifying, militarily superior power for their survival — and in so doing defined the character of a nation.

City of Night by Michelle West
February from Penguin Books
This is the second book in the series after The Hidden City (2008) set in the same universe as The Sacred Hunt and The Sun Sword. Chronicles the story of Jewel and House Terafin. From the author of the wonderful Chronicles of Elantra series ("Cast in" series) written as Michelle Sagara.
Demonic activity has escalated in both the Undercity and the mortal surface level city as the worshipers and servants of the Lord of the Hells strive to complete the rituals that will return their god to the mortal realm. As Rath joins with mages and the Twin Kings' agents to wage a secret battle against this nearly unstoppable foe, he gives Jewel Markess and her den of orphans the opportunity to escape the chaos by providing them with a note of introduction to the head of House Terafin, where Jewel will discover her destiny.

Greek: Double Date by Marsha Warner
May from Harlequin Teen
Haven't seen the TV sereis, but Harlequin Teen certainly has the pulse on YA fiction. 
Two dates—some night!
Major oops. When Casey Cartwright's brother begs her to be nerdy Dole Kettlewell's date to the sure-to-be-boring Honors Engineering Awards,  Casey says yes. Even though Dole is totally not her type... and might have a crush on her. Ugh. But it's a nice thing to do, and Casey's a ways been the "nice" girl.

But now, that night conflicts with the biggest event of the semester, the All-Greek formal. Casey already has a date lined up: hot transfer student Rob Howell. He's her plan to get over her sexy-slacker ex, Cappie. And even nice girls get to be bad sometimes, right?

What to do? With a little help from BFF Ashleigh, unwonted advice from frenemy Rebecca Logan and even a push from Cappie, what Casey does may surprise even herself....

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
March 23 from  EgmontUSA
This one is on my review radar. Beautiful cover.
When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.

The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann
April 27 from Prometheus Books
Definitely on my review hit list.
INTRODUCING THE WORLD'S FIRST STEAMPUNK SUPERHERO
1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian-American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed 'The Roman'. However, as The Ghost soon discovers, there is more to The Roman than at first appears, and more bizarre happenings that he soon links to the man, including moss-golems posing as mobsters and a plot to bring an ancient pagan god into the physical world in a cavern beneath the city. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the center of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to stop The Roman and halt the imminent destruction of the city.

Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker
May 25 from EOS
On my review radr. Zombies and romance? A no-brainer. LOL
After the zombie apocalypse, can zombies and humans live together in peace and harmony? College professor-cum-zombie Jack Barnes is determined to try in this wonderfully stylish and humorous debut novel.

Contrary to popular belief, not all zombies are created alike. Some of us like to have our brains and eat them too (not our own, of course!). My name is Jack Barnes, and, yes, I am a zombie. But I am NOT one of those garden-variety vacant-eyed undead idiots. After the zombie outbreak, by some miracle, I have retained my sentience. (Sorry for the big word; in my former incarnation, I was a professor of Contemporary American Literature.) I can even write. And I have a Dream-1 want to bring peace between zombies and humans.
But I need the help of our creator, Howard Stein, the man responsible for the zombie virus. I've set off on a grueling cross-country journey to plead my case. Along the way I've met more like me, rotting brain-eaters who still possess some sort of cognitive ability. We've banded into a small army who will stop at nothing—well, maybe a few quick cerebrum snacks—to reach our maker.

Let me introduce my wonderfully lively (pun intended!) crew. Meet Guts, an agile, dread-locked boy who can run like the wind. Joan, a matronly nurse adept at reattaching appendages and securing spilled innards. Annie, a young girl with a fierce quick-draw. And Kos, who can actually speak coherent sentences. Together we are making our way through an eerie new world of roving zombie hunters, empty McMansions, and clogged highways on a quest to attain what all men, women—and, yes, zombies—yearn for: equality.

Please, sit back while I tell you my story—a gore-splattered, blood-soaked, sometimes humorous, and surprisingly touching tale that will make you a believer. Are you ready?

Your Hate Mail Will be Graded by John Scalzi
January from Tor Books
Award winning SF writer John Scalzi is veteran blogger. Currently rated the #1 book blog  by Technorati John always has something interesting to say.  I'm a subscriber but this book goes back 10 years in a "best of" fashion. Should make for some very interesting reading.
On September 13, 1998, John Scalzi sat down in front of his computer to write the first entry in his blog "Whatever"—and changed the history of the Internet as we know it today.

What, you're not swallowing that one? Okay, fine: He started writing the "Whatever" and amused about 15 people that first day. If that many. But he kept at it, for ten years and running. Now 40,000 people drop by on a daily basis to see what he's got to say.

About what? Well, about whatever: Politics, writing, family, war, popular culture and cats (especially with bacon on them). Sometimes he's funny. Sometimes he's serious (mostly he's sarcastic). Sometimes people agree with him. Sometimes they send him hate mail, which he grades on originality and sends back. Along the way, Scalzi's become a best-selling, award-winning author, a father, and a geek celebrity. But no matter what, there's always another Whatever to amuse and/or enrage his readers.

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded collects some of the best and most popular Whatever entries over the history of the blog, from some of the very first entries right up into 2008. It's a decade of Whatever, presented in delightfully random form—just the way it should be.

Under in the Mere by Catherynne M. Valente
A wonderfully produced novella by a one of SFF's top talents. On my review list.
Rabid Transit Press is pleased to announce the publication of Under in the Mere, a novella by Catherynne M. Valente, in the December of 2009.

What damosel is this? What damosel is this?

Perhaps I am nothing but a white arm. Perhaps the body which is me diffuses at the water’s surface into nothing but light, light and wetness and blue. Maybe I am nothing but samite, pregnant with silver, and out of those sleeves come endless swords, dropping like lakelight from my hems. Will you come down to me and discover if my body continues below the rippling?

I thought not.

So begins the second release from the Electrum Novella Series, Under in the Mere, which takes Arthurian legend to the furthest limits of the imagination. Incantatory, labrynthine, and both playful and heartbreaking, Under in the Mere is a major new work from one of America's premier writers of fantasy.

With full interior illustrations from renowned fantasy artist James Owen and Jeremy Owen. Actually, Rabid Transit Press could put a piece of clip art here to somehow represent the artistic wonders that will reside in this book, but it would do the illustrations no justice. So, trust us, it will be amazing.

Halo Evolutions (Anthology)
November 23, 2009 from Tor Books
Haven't played the game but there is some top-notch talent here. I am a fan iof Karen Traviss' work so that story for sure is on my radar.
When humanity expanded beyond the safety of Earth to new stars and horizons, they never dreamed what dangers they would encounter there. When the alien juggernaut known as the Covenant declared holy war upon the fragile human empire, millions of lives were lost—but, millions of heroes rose to the challenge. In such a far-reaching conflict, not many of the stories of these heroes, both human and alien, have a chance to become legend. This collection holds eleven stories that dive into the depths of the vast Halo universe, not only from the perspective of those who fought and died to save humanity, but also those who vowed to wipe humanity out of existence.

Included in this collection are all-new, never-before-told stories by Tobias S. Buckell, B.K. Evenson, Jonathan Goff, Kevin Grace, Tessa Kum and Jeff Vandermeer, Robt McLees, Eric Nylund, Frank O'Connor, Eric Raab, Karen Traviss and Fred Van Lente.

Muse and Reverie by Charles de Lint
December 2009 from Tor Books
A de Lint collection is always nice to see. John Jude Palencar won this year’s Society of Illustrators’ Hamilton King Award for his cover on Muse and Reverie.
Muse and Reverie is an all-new collection of short fiction in Charles de Lint’s “Newford” universe—the fifth such collection since 1993, and the first since 2002. Previous collections are Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and the Horn, the World Fantasy Award-winning Memory and Dream, and Tapping the Dream Tree.

The city of Newford could be any city in North America, bursting with music, commerce, art, love and hate, and of course magic. Magic in the sidewalk cracks, myth at the foundations of its great buildings, enchantment in the spaces between its people. In this new collection, de Lint explores that magic and those spaces, shedding new light on the people and places that readers of novels like Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, and The Mystery of Grace have come to love.

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
January from St. Martin's Press
A great premise. Added to the TBR stack.
Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it’s a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight hundred-pound safe...he can open them all.

It’s an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever closer to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.

Steve Hamilton steps away from his Edgar Award-winning Alex McKnight series to introduce a unique new character, unlike anyone you’ve ever seen in the world of crime fiction.

Prince of Storms by Kay Kenyon
January from Prometheus Books
The final book in the series. I have the others on my shelf but unread. I will now have the joy of being able to read the entire series front to back with no wait. *grin*
Finally in control of the Ascendancy, Titus Quinn has styled himself Regent of the Entire. But his command is fragile. He rules an empire with a technology beyond human understanding; spies lurk in the ancient Magisterium; the Tarig overlords are hamstrung but still malevolent. Worse, his daughter Sen Ni opposes him for control, believing the Earth and its Rose universe must die to sustain the failing Entire. She is aided by one of the mystical pilots of the River Nigh, the space-time transport system. This navitar, alone among all others, can alter future events. He retires into a crystal chamber in the Nigh to weave reality and pit his enemies against each other.

Taking advantage of these chaotic times, the great foe of the Long War, the Jinda ceb Horat, create a settlement in the Entire. Masters of supreme technology, they maintain a lofty distance from the Entire's struggle. They agree, however, that the Tarig must return to the fiery Heart of their origins. With the banishment immanent, some Tarig lords rebel, fleeing to hound the edges of Quinn's reign.

Meanwhile, Quinn's wife Anzi becomes a hostage and penitent among the Jinda ceb, undergoing alterations that expose their secrets, but may estrange her from her husband. As Quinn moves toward a confrontation with the dark navitar, he learns that the stakes of the conflict go far beyond the Rose versus the Entire—extending to a breathtaking dominance. The navitar commands forces that lie at the heart of theEntire's geo-cosmology, and will use them to alter the calculus of power. As the navitar's plan approaches consummation, Quinn, Sen Ni, and Anzi are swept up in forces that will leave them forever changed.

In this rousing finale to Kenyon's celebrated quartet, Titus Quinn meets an inevitable destiny, forced at last to make the unthinkable choice for or against the dictates of his heart, for or against the beloved land.

Shadowrise by Tad Williams
March from Penguin Books/DAW
The third part of the Shadowmarch quartet following Shadowmarch (2004) and Shadowplay (2007). Stay tuned for a great giveaway starting on Tuesday!
Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, the king’s children Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.

Barrick is lost behind the Shadowline, facing all the terrible dangers and mysteries of that magical twilight land. Briony is alone in a treacherous foreign court, struggling to survive with no weapon left to her but her wits. And in the midst of all this, something unbelievable is awakening underneath Southmarch, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years.

In this third volume Barrick and Briony, along with Qinnitan – the Autarch’s desperate, escaped slave – a loyal soldier named Ferras Vansen, and a tiny handful of other folk, ordinary and extraordinary, must find a way to save their world, or else witness the rise of a terrible new age – an age of unending darkness.

Cover Art - "Reign Check" by Michelle Rowen

Michelle Rowen posted on her blog that the US cover for Reign Check, the second book in her young adult Demon Princess series has changed. There's a new book blurb and you can now read an excerpt of the first two chapters. The book releases in May. Hmm seems awfully reminiscent of Stacia Kane's Personal Demon series covers... what do you think?

Nikki Donovan has had a lot to deal with since learning she was half human, half demon. But things take a darker turn when Rhys, a gorgeous—but potentially dangerous—faery king enrolls at her high school to investigate Nikki’s potential for fulfilling an apocalyptic prophesy. Nikki knows she’d never turn violent, and she certainly couldn’t destroy the world…could she?

Of course, all Nikki really wants is to be reunited with Michael, a Shadow creature whose status as her personal servant is further complicated by their undeniable attraction to each other. Even though the rules of the Shadowlands strictly forbid their romance, Nikki is determined not to let Michael go. But when she is summoned to the Underworld to appear before a demon council, it will take all her courage—and perhaps a bit of demon-level strength—to get herself out again.
Original Cover

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Urban Fantasy Weekend Report

INTERVIEWS and EVENTS at SciFiGuy.ca: 

My special guest this past week was Mark Henry whose newest book Battle of the Network Zombies was just released. Check out the Vlog interview here and enter to win one one of three copies of Happy Hour of the Damned. To enter the giveaway leave a comment for Mark with your suggestion on a recommended SF or Fantasy book (Mark emphasizes that it should contain some irreverant humour and gore).

This coming week is jam packed with exciting guests. Leading off the week on Monday is Canadian author Sean Cummings whose delightful urban fantasy Shade Fright is launching that day in the UK and later in the month here in North America. Wednesday Skyler White visits to chat about and Falling, Fly a book Julie Kenner describes as "a dark fable exploring the nature of feminine desire through its vampiric heroine’s trials in a lush steampunk Hell." Last but by no means least, I wrap up the week with an inteview author dark fantasy author Nancy Kilpatrick who edited the just about to be released all-Canadian vampire anthology Evolve.


Contest and giveaways wrapping up this week include Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison (March 1), Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (March 1), Rogue Angel: The Spirit Banner by Joe Nassise (March 1) and Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry (March 3). If you haven't already follow the links and get your entry in.

In addition to the giveaways associated with next weeks interviews, I'll also be lauching a giveaway for the new Tad Williams fantasy Shadowrise and a promotion for the YA thriller Num8ers by Rachel Ward.


And I am really excited about finally having one of my favourite people, funny person, master blogger, president of the Naked David Boreanaz Club and wicked author visit. On March 10, Marta Acosta of the Casa Dracula books and Vampire Wire will be here to wreak havoc and unleash the dogs of war, or something like that (she's threatened to do a "tell-all" book on me). I am sure there wil be mayhem and mirth.

Remember to check my Author Events and Interviews schedule posted on my left sidebar for the most recent updates.

AUTHOR and BOOK NEWS:

FREE READS:
  • C.E. Murphy has an excerpt from her exclusive short story Hot Time in Old Town Tonight.
  • Free ebook version of Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking at Amazon (Kindle), B&N and Sony e-readers
  • Read an excerpt of the forthcoming Sin Undone by Larissa Ione, the 5th book in the Demonica series
  • Angry Robot has an exclusive short story: The Midnight Watch by Tim Waggoner (Nekropolis and Dead Streets) 
  • Read Kelley Armstrong's first book in her YA Darkest Powers series, The Summoning online.
  • Richelle Mead has two excerpts for us Succubus Shadows Excerpt and Spirit Bound Excerpt
INTERVIEWS:
  • Along with a great mid-week news recap Jackie at Literary Escapism ahas a summary of Interviews around the blogosphere.
Kat Richardson on her blog reports that SF author Marianne de Pierres, who writes the Parrish Plessis series, has a new paranormal crime series out -
Writing as Marianne Delacourt the new series, features Tara Sharp, an unemployable rich-girl with the freakish talent of reading auras, which quickly lands her in trouble as she starts working for a lawyer with, as we say in the States, “mob connections.” Think an Australian Stephanie Plum, but less ditzy and driving a really nifty car. Go, go! Read!
New Mario Acevedo Felix Gomez series book trailer:


Paranormal Romance has covers and links on all of the PEARL nominees. Congratulations to all the finalists.

Kelley Armstrong announced what I assume is the title to the next trilogy in her YA series - it's called Darkness Rising. Kelley also notes that Toronto teens are wanted for a studio audience at CTV for eTalk on teen novels with her and others on March 2. Interested? Details: http://bit.ly/dkTb50

The Erica Hayes website has a new look and a new book releasng March 2 (Shadowglass).

Charlaine Harris will be joining the ranks of furban fantasy writers whose books are being adapted as a comic. The first book of her hit Harper Connelly series, Grave Sight, will be adapted by Dynamite Entertainment in 2010. [via Loving True Blood in Dallas]

Kim Harrison talks about Black Magic Sanction


C.E. Murphy reminds us about the deadline to purchase her limited edition short story from her Old Races series -
Time is growing short to buy "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight", the Janx and Daisani novella of the Old Races. It’ll go off the market at the end of February, and it’ll be years before it’s seen again.
Marta Acosta at Vampire Wire introduced a new to me author this week. See the guest post with Lois Gresh whose current book projects include vampire horror novel Blood and Ice (Oct 2010), a vampire romance written under a pseudonym, and a short story collection Eldritch Evolutions (2011).

Can't remember if I posted this before but I am going to again - here's the book trailer for Shift by Rachel Vincent releasing on Monday.


One of my favourite fantasy authors Sharon Shinn, has sold two urban fantasies to Ace, The Shape of Desire and another untitled sequel.

The Horror Writers of America (HWA) released the TOC for their annual anthology Blood Lite 2. Quite a few familiar names in the list.
  • Death and Taxes | Heather Graham
  • Table for Two | Jeff Ryan
  • Treatment | J.A. Konrath
  • Dead Clown Séance | Christopher Welch
  • The Day the Devil Swallowed a Heapin’ Helpin’ of Pride at the Beaulahville Gospel Jubilee | Scott Nicholson
  • Piecemaker | Don d’Ammassa
  • Good Breeding | Lucien Soulban
  • Tails | John R. Little
  • Dog Tired (of the Drama!) | L.A. Banks
  • A Sweet Girl for Todd | Mark Onspaugh
  • Dark Carbuncle | Kevin J. Anderson & Janis Ian
  • Tastes Like Chicken | Jordan Summers
  • Presumptuous Beast Throws Sumptuous Feast | Mike Baron
  • Bad German | Edward Bryant
  • The Halloween War | Brian J. Hatcher
  • Oh, the Ho-Ho Horror | Joel A. Sutherland
  • The Unfortunate Persistence of Harold Francis Beamish | Aaron Polson
  • Dick and Larry | D.L. Snell
  • Son of…a Bitch! | Sam W. Anderson
  • Her Lucky Day | Allison Brennan
  • A Wing and a Prayer | Sharyn McCrumb
  • Barewolf | Daniel Pyle
  • American Banshee | Eric James Stone
  • The Epicurean | Amy Sterling Casil
  • The Ghoul Next Door | Nancy Kilpatrick
  • Daycare of the Damned | Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  • Season’s Tickets | Derek Clendening
  • The Close Shave | Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn
  • Shaggy Dog Story | Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Eight-Legged Vengeance | Jeff Strand
  • Lucifer’s Daughter | Kelley Armstrong
Book trailer for Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter



CONTESTS:

Is that 99 bottles of beer on the wall? No! Its a List of 99 urban fantasy giveaways from Abigail at All Things Urban Fantasy.


MEDIA:

Reviews of The Wolfman by Nicole Hadaway, Teresa D'Amario, and Carrie Vaughn.

According to Variety, Columbia Pictures is bringing Doc Savage back to the big screen..Known as the Man of Bronze and hero of pulp novels, films and comic books, the pulp fiction hero was popular in the 1930s, '40s. [via SciFi Wire]. Here's my shelf of some of the Doc Savage novels that were reprinted by Bantam.


PROMOTIONS:

Subterranean Press just announced their plans to publish Counterfeit Magic, a new novella by Kelley Armstrong. Return to the world of Kelley Armstrong's best-selling novels Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic for Counterfeit Magic, a long original novella.
The first rule of a supernatural fight club? Don't kill your opponent.

When the fighters come with lethal spells, werewolf strength and half-demon powers, that can be a lot tougher than it sounds. It's hard to attract talent if they know they might not leave the ring alive. So when fighters at a California club start dying ... it's bad for business.

Witch detectives Paige Winterbourne and Savannah Levine take the case. Going undercover in the power-heavy arena of the fight club is a welcome change of pace for Paige, relegated to the role of The Wife as her husband struggles to find his place in his family's Cabal-the corporate Mafia of the supernatural world.

As Paige is drawn deeper into new and dangerous corners of her world, she quickly discovers the greatest threat isn't the killer in her sights. It's something much, much closer to home. And this is one fight she can't afford to lose.
The Limited Edition of Counterfeit Magic will be leatherbound, with a completely different dust jacket than the Trade Edition. In addition, the Trade Edition cover will be reproduced as a full-color frontispiece. Both editions will feature 8-10 full page black and white interior illustrations.

Limited: 1000 signed numbered leatherbound copies, with different dust jacket: $45
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition: $25


COVERS and ART:

Author Jess Haines Artist Interview with Brad Fraunfelter

Bianca D'Arc revealed this cover for The Beast Within, a forthcoming Hallowen anthology from Kensington. Bianca has a zombie story titlesd Smoke on the Water included.

Joe Nassise showed of this gorgeous cover for A Scream of Angels, which is in the works for the English edition of the second book in his Templar Chronicles.

Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos continues her Misadventures in Stock Photography with Part the Eleventh (in which there are no abs whatsoever) and Dirty Sexy Books does a cover critque of some forthcoming books. The Book Smugglers do an in-depth post on Whitewashing (to use a white representation for a character that is not white) of book covers. Elie at Ellz Readz does one of her fun posts on inked covers.

Larissa Ione revealed the cover for Sin Undone, the fifth Demonica series book (August 31). Very nice!
 HER TOUCH IS DEADLY
As the only female Seminus demon ever born, master assassin Sinead Donnelly is used to being treated like an outcast. She spent decades enslaved, and now vows she’ll die before she’ll relinquish her freedom again. Then Sin’s innate ability to kill her enemies goes awry: She creates a lethal new werewolf virus that sparks a firestorm of panic and violence.
HIS HUNGER CAN’T BE DENIED
Half-werewolf, half-vampire Conall Dearghul is charged with bringing in Sin to face punishment for the plague. And she’s no stranger: He’s bound to her by blood, and the one sexual encounter they shared has left him hungering for her raw sensuality. Worse, Sin is the underworld’s most wanted and Con soon learns he’s the only one who can help her . . . and that saving her life might mean sacrificing his own.
Rachel Vincent posted covers for two of her forthcomng books. Alpha the sixth and final Shifters novel and My Soul to Keep, the third Soul Screamers book in her YA series. Note that the coer to My Soul to Keep is not final with some tweaks and cover blurbs still to be added.

Jennifer Estep has the final cover for Web of Lies, the second Elemental Assassin book due in May. Jennifer also announced that she has sold books 4 and 5 in the series to her publisher. Congratulations!

Terry Spear reports that there has been a change in cover for the forthcoming Seduced by the Wolf. Which do you prefer?
Old | New

Cover art featured here this past week at SciFiGuy.ca included:

AROUND the BLOGOSPHERE:

Rebecca at Dirty Sexy Books found this link to Jim Tierney an Illustrator currently studying at UArts in Philadelphia.who has created some pretty awesome book designs. Definitely worth a look. I'd love books like this in my collection.

from The Galaxy Express posts about how Steampunk Romance Poised To Hit The UK Market

Rebecca at Dirty Sexy Books offers some safe advice to authors about building a good website. Read The Ten Biggest Mistakes Authors Make on Their Websites

The Story Siren has another article for book bloggers that is a must read. Check out "You Get Sent Proposals to Review Books?"


CANDID CAMERA:

Richelle Mead at signing doing her bit for France

Kelly Gay, Jenna Black and host Janet Morley meet Edward Cullen at library event.

EOS Books reports Kim Harrison was cleverly located near the chocolate at a recent signing


Friday, February 26, 2010

Cover Art - "Truly Madly Deadly" by Becca Wilcott

Becca Wilcott, author of the forthcoming Truly, Madly, Deadly: The Unofficial True Blood Companion shared the cover art with me today. I just love the heart art! The book has a tentative release date of June 1 from ECW Press. Becca recently had this to say about some of the interviews she conducted for the companion book - 
Some of these “chats” include Alix Fox from Bizarre magazine; Stacey May Fowles from Shameless magazine on the BDSM elements of Sookie and Bill’s relationship (such a good piece!); Andy Swist on his INCREDIBLE True Blood paper dolls; Karen Walton, screenwriter of the cult film Ginger Snaps on her use of werewolves as metaphor; my interviews with Kristin Bauer (Pam) and Patricia Bethune (Jane Bodehouse); an author you may have heard of, Charlaine Harris; and a whack of bloggers/podcasters/fans. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cover Art - "Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend" by Katie MacAlister

Katie MacAlister posted this very pretty cover for Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend. The book is an omnibus edition of two of her out of print YA novels - Got Fangs? (2005) and Circus of the Darned (2006). The release this November is timed to coincide with the launch of her new Dark Ones book, In the Company of Vampires, featuring characters from the earlier books. Katie provides some background -
This book [In the Company of Vampires] brings into the adult romance world the characters from my two young adult vampire books--Benedikt Czerny and Francesca Ghetti. Because Ben and Fran have a history before Company of Vamps, and also because their two books are out of print, and the publisher's YA line has been closed down for a couple of years now, I thought it would be cool if their original books were available again, so folks who pick up copies of In the Company of Vampires can read Ben and Fran's history from the start.
 

Original Covers

Review - "Black Magic Sanction" by Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.
Black Magic Sanction is the eighth adventure of witch Rachel Morgan and it is an urban fantasy tour de force. White Witch, Black Curse (book #7) left Rachel with her back against the wall and at an all-time low point in her life. Shunned by her own community, Rachel's only option is to find a way to get the Coven Council to repeal their decision using any means and any resource at her disposal, which as always leads to even more trouble.

Black Magic Sanction is packed with edge-of-your-seat action, tension, mystery sorrow and joy and the majority of the long standing characters take an active part in either helping or hindering Rachel's efforts. Individual motivations are sometimes clear but often gray adding wonderful complexity and drama to the story.

The author continues to explore and re-define the relationships Rachel has with other major characters. Trent and Rachel have a complex history and Black Magic Sanction delves into that further, both through flashbacks and in the present.  I particularly liked this remembrance of Rachel riding with Trent when they were kids at camp.
Tulpa's feet left the earth, and he stretched forward. One with him, we leaned as well, instinct older than magic taking hold. The beating of his hooves was silenced, and the thumping of my heart was all that there was. For an instant, we flew.
Tulpa's front feet touched, and the world rushed back. The cadence of his hooves beat into me, and I shouted, letting go of Trent. It had been marvelous. Wonderful beyond belief. Exuberant, I smiled, feeling breathless and powerful all at the same time.
Trent turned, wonder in his eyes, shock almost. "You held on."
The supposed, lily-white, morally upstanding Coven Council has a hidden agenda and there are even schisms within the Council. Rachel is battling for her life and the demon Algaliarept is a surpising ally even if he is only protecting his investment. Rachel exhibits greater confidence in her dealings with Al, moving more and more towards achieving some degree of equality, with some intersting results. Here is a great exhange between Al and Rachel - 
"They drugged me," I said, trying to smack his reaching arm away only to find myself picked up and plopped on the table, sitting on some of Ivy's papers. "In my leg," I continued, as he smelled my breath and peered over his smoked glasses at me. "Shot me twice. I want my name, or I'm going to start charging you a fee every time I field something for you. And it's going to be expensive. I'm Park Place. Buddy."
His red, goat-slitted eyes squinted at me from over his smoked glasses. "You're more like Oriental Avenue right now, dove. What are you on?"
In the series, Rachel has been a force for change. The vampires perceive her as a source of hope when it comes to her finding a solution to saving Ivy's soul (and thus for all vampires) when she meets her first death. She has restored the balance of power to the weres when she retrurned their Focus. In Black Magic Sanction she is the catalyst for potentially far-reaching changes in fairy and pixy culture. Despite this hefty resume; the shunning, her demonkin status and her ability to kindle demon magic has left Rachel with tremendous self doubt. But Pierce reminds her of who she is in this lovely passage-
Pierce was silent until he stopped right before me, his face showing"' unreadable emotion. "You're firm in will, pure in intent, strong in magic. But now it's tempered with wisdom, and you're more beautiful and brilliant yet." I went to turn away, and he pulled me back. "You are shades of gray swirling, balancing needs and desires," he added, watching me, "You are good, Rachel. No matter what your choices lead you to, you will remain such."
Readers should also prepare themselves for another emotionally wrenching character loss leading to one of the most devastatingly powerful moments and expressions of loss in the series to date. For those that cannot abide spoilers I have rendered the following quote in white text (just highlight it if you want to view).
"Tears could not be equal, if I wept diamonds from the skies," Jenks whispered, empty and bereft. "My word silent, though I should howl. Muffled by death, my wings can't lift me high enough to find you. I feel you within. Unaware of my pain. Not knowing why I mourn."
He lifted his eyes to mine, a glimmer of tears showing. "And why I breathe alone."
I shifted my bare feet, cold on the earth. I wasn't a poet. I had no words. Tears blurred my sight as we stood and watched his life burn.
Black Magic Sanction as expected, is one of the best reads you will find in urban fantasy this year. The world of the Hollows continues to enrich and fascinate and there couldn't be any more exciting guide than Rachel Morgan and company. The conclusion brings a new balance to their lives and the events of the novel introduce a whole new world of possibilites for Rachel Morgan #9. Last year, Barnes and Noble named the first book in the series, Dead Witch Walking, the best urban fantasy of the past decade. Black Magic Sanction lives up to that standard.

If you would like to a chance to read Black Magic Sanction, I have two copies to giveaway. The contest ends March 1 at midnight. Details here.

AUTHOR and BOOK SHOWCASEOfficial Kim Harrison Website

HarperCollins Publishers (EOS)
Published: February 23, 2010
ISBN #: 978-0061138034
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 487

Read an excerpt of the first seven chapters.

The Hollows (Rachel Morgan) Series:
  1. Dead Witch Walking (2004)
  2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (2005)
  3. Every Which Way But Dead (2005)
  4. A Fistful of Charms (2006)
  5. For a Few Demons More (2007)
  6. The Outlaw Demon Wails (2008)
  7. White Witch, Black Curse (February 24, 2009)
  8. Black Magic Sanction (2010)

Video of Kim Harrison Talking About Black Magic Sanction

Cover Art - "Game of Cages" by Harry Connolly

Harry Connolly posted the cover art for the followup novel to Child of Fire (2009) in his Twenty Palaces urban fantasy series. Game of Cages will release August 31, 2010. No blurb available that I could locate.

Cover Art - "Whisper Kiss" by Deborah Cooke

Deborah Cooke has posted Whisper Kiss, the hot new cover to the fifth Dragonfire book which will be released August 3, 2010. This is a terrific series. You can read my review of the most recent book, Winter Kiss, here. To find out more, Deborah Cooke talks about the background of the series and summarizes each of the books in an interview I did with her last November.
One man’s mission ignites one woman’s fire…

Niall Talbot has volunteered to hunt down and destroy all the remaining shadow dragons—who were weakened by the destruction of the Dragon’s Blood Elixir—before they can wreak more havoc. Among them is his dead twin brother, making Niall’s mission not only dangerous but personal.

Tattoo artist Rox believes the world is a canvas to be made more beautiful. An unconventional spirit who isn’t afraid of anything, she doesn’t even f linch when a shape-shifting dragon warrior suddenly appears on her doorstep. And as a woman who follows her heart in matters of passion, she makes the perfect mate for a firestorm with Niall.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guest Author - Mark Henry (Vlog Interview & Giveaway)

Mark Henry, urban fantasy author, Amanda Feral biographer and member extraordinaire of The League of Reluctant Adults is with us today to celebrate the launch of Battle of the Network Zombies, the third book in Amanda's adventures. The book just hit shelves yesterday. I have a spoiler-free review of it posted here. It's the best in the series so far!

In a departure from the usual Q&A, Mark responded to my dozen or so interview questions with a Vlog split into two parts. I hope you enjoy.

I have three copies of the new mass market paperback edition of Happy Hour of the Damned (January 26) to give away to commenters who respond to the question Mark asks at the end of the interview. Contest is open internationally to anywhere that The Book Depostory ships. Giveaway ends March 3rd. Post about the interview and giveaway in the usual places to receive an extra entry.

Interview Part 1


Interview Part 2


You can find Mark hanging out here -

And you can also find Mark Henry at these places:
Facebook | Myspace | Yahoo Group | Twitter

MESSAGE FROM MARK HENRY:
There’s a campaign sweeping the internets to save my zombie diva from obscurity. What it boils down to is, Amanda Feral’s getting one more shot before the series gets nixed. My publisher is reissuing Happy Hour of the Damned, the first book in the series, in mass-market paperback for the paltry sum of $6.99. That’s less than seven bones, people! Buy four instead of the latest Patterson outline turned bestseller, I won’t tell.
One of the ways you can help to keep an unapolagetic antiheroine in the urban fantasy genre, is to order the books through the University Bookstore in Seattle. How awesome would it be to open up your package (the kind from a box, not in your pants) and find some handwritten smut personalized for you by Mark Henry!

Alive, ad exec Amanda Feral worked hard to wring enjoyment out of her days. Now that she's a zombie, it's a different story. Turns out, Seattle is home to glamorous undead of every description, and Amanda - stylish and impeccably groomed even in the afterlife - is swigging cocktails and living large (so to speak) among its elite. But there are downsides. Not being able to stomach anything except alcohol and human flesh, for instance. And the fact that someone is targeting Seattle's otherworldly inhabitants for their own sinister reasons. Preying on the undead is seriously uncool. The only option is for Amanda and her zombie BFF Wendy and gorgeous gay vampire pal Gil to unearth the culprit among the legions of Seattle's bloodsuckers, shapeshifters, reapers, succubi, and demons - before they all meet a fate a lot worse than death...
Celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is back from the dead, and hungrier than ever for a good time. With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy gay sidekick Gil, this stone cold fox is dressed to kill, on the prowl, and ready to take a big juicy bite out of Seattle's supernatural nightlife. But what's a zombie chick to do when her 'Mommie Dearest' gets sick? If you're Amanda Feral, you can either ignore the wicked old witch - or bury the past by visiting Ethel before she kicks it. Amanda's not thrilled about the idea of crossing three states just to be criticized. But Wendy, who's always looking for fresh meat, is up for the adventure. And Gil, who just launched his 'luxury' resurrection business, needs to disappear because a pissed-off client is out for his blood. First, they pack their stiletto pumps and plasma into a skeevy rattrap on wheels that used to be a Winnebago. Then, with a little help from a Korean-ghost hood ornament, a masochist named Fishhook, and a slew of 'moderately accurate' psychics, they hit the highway - their way. Of course, they'll have to navigate past some neo-Nazi skinheads, a horny dust devil, a hunky werewolf cop (who could pass for an underwear model) and an unsightly horde of supermarket shoppers. But for this glamorous gang of ghouls this trip is about to take a dangerous detour that could give road kill a brand new meaning.
In Seattle's undead circles, Amanda Feral is one of the beautiful zombies. Of course, when you're socializing with werewolves, devils, and rampaging yetis, there's not that much competition. Still, Amanda has a stylish rep to maintain, which is getting tricky now that her tanking ad agency is obliterating her finances. The fastest way to make some cash: appear on a new reality show, American Minions, hosted by lecherous wood nymph Johnny Birch. Classy? Maybe not, but a girl's gotta eat. With zombie gal pal Wendy posing as her bitchy agent, Amanda settles in to 'Minions Mansion', crowded with 24-7 video cameras and undead fame whores. When Johnny is found incinerated in a locked room, Amanda decides to channel her inner Miss Marple (minus the ugly cardigans) and find out who's responsible. Was it Hairy Sue, the white trash stripper yeti? Tanesha, the glamorous trannie werewolf? Angie, the Filipino vampire with a detachable head? Unveiling the culprit in a heart-stopping finale won't just save the show from cancellation, it might just keep Amanda alive - or as close as a ghoul can get...