Guest Author: Nancy Wallace

Nancy is a fellow Harper author, and the final book in her Wolves of Llisé trilogy is now available. It really is an excellent series and I highly recommend it! As a bonus, if you act quick, you can get the ebook of the previous two books (Among Wolves & Grim Tidings) for just 99 cents!


Before Winter, the exciting conclusion to the Wolves of Llisé trilogy, was released in eBook by Harper Voyager, U.K. Sept. 21, 2017. Before Winter, Among Wolves (2015) and Grim Tidings (2016) follow the quest of Devin Roché, a young archivist, who discovers discrepancies in the government Archives which send him in search of the oral Provincial Chronicles which record a very different history.

In the final book in the trilogy, rumors of Devin’s death at his own bodyguard’s hands reach the capital and the Chancellor is detained on fabricated charges of treason, which may cost him his life. In the provinces, people fight to reclaim their history – but the forces against them are powerful: eradicating the Chronicles, assassinating Master Bards, and spreading darkness and death.

Accompanied by a wolf pack and a retinue of their closest allies, Gaspard and Chastel must cross the mountains in a desperate attempt to save the Chancellor before winter makes their passage impossible. But the closer they journey towards Coreé, the clearer it becomes that there are those who don’t intend for them to arrive, at all.

The paperback of Before Winter will be available March 22, 2018. EBooks of both Among Wolves and Grim Tidings are on sale through September 29!

Amazon Author Page

Save

Excerpt of Without Light or Guide

T. Frohock is a fellow Harper author, and friend. Her latest novella, Without Light or Guide is a sequel to In Midnight’s Silence. She’s a gifted writer who has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. These are great stories, with interesting, compelling characters. The setting, just before and during the Spanish Civil War, serves to add both tension and depth. She’s also the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and numerous short stories. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is from Harper Voyager Impulse.

You can find out more about T. at her website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
Without further ado, Here’s T. to tell you about her book and give you a sneak peek.


The hero of Los Nefilim is Diago Alvarez. He, and his lover, Miquel, are part of a secretive group known as Los Nefilim (Spanish for The Nephilim–say it like “The Mob” and you’ve got the right idea). This group of angelic Nefilim monitor daimonic activity for the angels.

The only thing is: Diago is not fully angelic. He is part daimon, part angel, and his very unique form of magic is sought by both sides in the conflict between angels and daimons. Diago moves through a world of espionage and partisan warfare with a rogues’ gallery filled with angels, daimons, and mortals.

In the first novella of the series, In Midnight’s Silence, the reader is introduced to Diago’s world. We meet Diago, Miquel, and Diago’s son, Rafael. We get a brief glimpse of the shadowy world of Los Nefilim and its king, Guillermo Ramirez.

In Without Light or Guide, Diago’s story continues as he tries very hard to fit in with Los Nefilim, but his daimonic heritage follows him, and seeds distrust among the other Nefilim. Guillermo assigns Diago to work with another Nefil by the name of Garcia, who is Guillermo’s plant within the Urban Guard.

In this scene from Chapter 2, Diago has just completed an assignment for Los Nefilim and is going to meet Guillermo and Miquel. After a tense encounter with his dead father, Alvaro, on the subway, which has left him on edge, Diago is hoping to evade another argument with Garcia.


Diago rode the elevator to the main floor and exited the building. Outside, Garcia was nowhere to be seen. Either he had hidden himself well, or he was off on another task for Guillermo.

Relieved, Diago turned toward the Gothic Quarter and decided to avoid the metro. Another encounter with Alvaro was the last thing he needed.

He had just crossed the street when a police car rolled to a stop beside the curb. Had Ferrer discovered the missing memo? Diago made a conscious effort to keep his hand away from his pocket.

The youth behind the wheel cranked down his window with ferocious speed. “Excuse me, Doctor Alvarez!”

Doctor? Oh Jesus, what now? Diago bent over and saw Garcia’s terse face glowering from the passenger side of the car. This day was not getting better.

Garcia emerged from the car. The urgency in his step alarmed Diago. His concern shifted from the stolen memo to Guillermo and Miquel. Had something happened to them?

Garcia rounded the bumper.

“What’s the matter?” Diago asked.

Garcia clenched Diago’s bicep and propelled him to the car’s back door. “You’re a doctor now, do you understand?”

Diago twisted free and lowered his voice. “Don’t touch me again.”

“Just get in the fucking car.”

“At least tell me what kind of doctor I’m supposed to be.”

“An alienist.”

Diago calmed somewhat. Guillermo was in no danger if he had sent for Diago to play the role of a criminal psychiatrist, and that likewise meant Miquel was safe.

Whenever mortals were involved and his friend had needed someone to read the patterns of a daimon attack, he’d called on Diago and passed him off as an alienist. Now that he was Los Nefilim, Guillermo must have decided wining and dining him was no longer a necessary component of the request. “And what kind of crime am I investigating?”

“We don’t have time for questions.” Garcia jerked the door open. “Get in.”

No use arguing. The sooner he got inside, the sooner they’d arrive … where? There could be only one place. Guillermo had mentioned a visit to Doña Rosa Iniguez. Diago got in the car.

Garcia slammed the door hard enough to rattle the window in its frame.

Diago caught the young mortal’s gaze in the rearview mirror. “What’s happened?”

The young man licked his lips. “He killed them all,” he whispered. “He’s insane.”

Garcia rounded the right bumper.

Diago resisted the urge to lean forward. “Who?”

The officer clutched the wheel in a white-knuckled grip. Before he could answer, Garcia jerked open the door and got in the front seat.

“Drive.”

* * *

It seems that throughout Barcelona, the mortals Diago has known are dying gruesome deaths. A daimon is loose in the city, and Diago’s only clue to her identity is a mysterious phrase written in smoke: She Hunts.

The year is 1931.

The city is Barcelona.

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind.

The hunt begins.


Without Light or Guide and In Midnight’s Silence are available at all the usual sellers of ebooks:
Amazon     Apple     Barnes and Noble     HarperCollins     Kobo

WithoutLight cover IMS

Excerpt of Beth Cato’s Latest Book

Beth Cato is a brilliant author also published through Harper Voyager. Her Clockwork Dagger series is a really great read. It’s a steampunk fantasy with a healer for the main character. Let’s hear the love for the clerics in the D&D party! Not only is she a great storyteller, she’s also a fiendishly good baker and regularly shares the recipe for her delights with the public; no doubt as part of her plan for world domination. This is probably how she attained the role of High Priestess of Churromancy over at the Holy Taco Church. Today, however, Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella is out today and the ebook is only ninety-nine cents! Have you bought it yet? Why not? Need convincing? Okay, fine, here’s an excerpt.


 

Wings of Sorrow and Bone

Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella

A few months after the events of The Clockwork Crown

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.

In this excerpt from Chapter 2, Rivka and Tatiana have just met and escaped from Balthazar Cody’s party. Their nosiness has guided them to a basement laboratory full of peculiar creatures…

“Yes. Gremlins. My God, they are ugly,” said Tatiana, shuddering. She had to speak loudly to be heard.

The creatures mewed, cackled, and banged on the copper and wood bars of their enclosures. Nothing was made of silver. Rivka stepped closer.

The bright electric lighting showed the green gremlins well. Some had tint variations, like patches in a quilt. Their sizes ranged from pigeon to husky tomcat. Long, bat-like wings folded along their sides. Hideous hybrid faces featured round, black eyes, some of their noses compressed and others more elongated. Their arms tended toward long and skinny, hind legs stubby.

Gremlins had split lips, just like her.

Rivka traced her upper lip with her tongue. Doctors in Tamarania could fill the gap that partially exposed her front teeth. She was slowly saving up money for that very surgery.

“Hi there.” Rivka reached out. A gremlin’s three small fingers clutched her fingertips. There were no claws, nor did it try to lurch her off balance. The little gremlin pressed its face to the bars. Long, whiskered ears trembled. Rivka felt a vibration against her hand, and with a start realized that the creature was purring.

“A lot of them—no, all of them—are injured.” Tatiana pointed.

She was right. The gremlin whose hand Rivka held had bandages girthing most of its torso. The one to the left had no ear, just a rounded stub. The one below had no wings, and therefore, no arms. A cage over, the gremlin actually had separate arms, but its wings were gone as well.

“Is this like a medical ward for maimed gremlins?” Rivka frowned and looked around as she wiggled her hand free. It certainly seemed like a sterile surgical space. She pulled out her trusty little screwdriver again.

“What are you doing?”

“Being nosy. There has to be a ledger or something around here that chronicles their injuries.”

The cages were numbered and denoted with colorful flags; not all were occupied. Most of the cabinets and drawers held tools and blades with purposes she didn’t wish to contemplate. No paperwork had been left out. She pulled a cart from beneath a steel table. Lifting the hinged lid, she found a snarled pile of dead gremlins. She gasped.

“What?” called Tatiana from across the room.

“Bodies.” Rivka shoved the cart away. She’d seen all kinds of dead things before, people included, but there was something especially disturbing about a haphazard knot of that nature.

Like that sample? Read the whole novella for just 99-cents

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes

ClockworkDagger_PB_cover500x332ClockworkCrown_331x500


 

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER (a 2015 Locus Award finalist for First Novel) and THE CLOCKWORK CROWN from Harper Voyager.

BethCato-steampunk-headshot100x150

Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Happy 4th of July and a Guest Post!

Happy 4th of July! If you’re in the US, you’re probably eating hot dogs, hamburgers, bbq, or perhaps some soy impersonation of them with friends and family before enjoying a colorful display of high explosives. For those of you not in the US and might not be familiar, the 4th marks American independence from the British. And what finer way to celebrate than to invite a Brit into the pub? AFE Smith is one of my fellow Harper Voyager open submission selectees. In fact, it’s in no small part from her hard work that many of those selectees (most of whom you’ll see listed on my links list) are now friends. As such, it’s my pleasure to have AFE for a visit promoting her debut novel, Darkhaven. It’s a fantasy novel with shapeshifting, mystery, intrigue, AND flying unicorns. That’s right, I said flying unicorns. We shall not at this time however delve into whether they are pegacorns or unisuses. As part of this tour, she has a lot of giveaways happening. You can, and should, check out the tour here. And if you’d like to get a free copy of Darkhaven, as well as some other nifty stuff, here’s her Rafflecopter giveaway.

For her visit, AFE is here to talk about how she came to not only accept who she is (and what she loves) but to be proud of it, and frankly, that’s a story that can never be told enough.


Love what you love

Let me tell you a story.

Maybe 15 or 20 years ago, when I was a young teenager, I was … well, pretty much the same as I am now. Quiet*, shy, a voracious reader, into fantasy novels and sci-fi movies and going to the library on a Saturday morning. The only difference was, I was ashamed of being those things. I used to creep around the fantasy section of my local bookshop with one eye constantly on the door, just in case someone I knew came in and saw me. Yet now I’m a fantasy author who wrote a book about love and murder and flying unicorns, and I’m not in the least ashamed. Because it’s awesome.

So what changed?

Well, for me it was threefold. Partly it was getting a bit older, moving from school to university, and discovering that no one judged me anymore; the cool kids read fantasy too. Partly (though this may sound silly) it was the first Lord of the Rings movie, which came out around the same time – because it was a wild success, and everyone was watching it, and that meant it wasn’t weird to like fantasy after all. And partly, it was the internet.

I kind of wish the internet had already been mainstream when I was growing up, because one wonderful thing it does is allow people with similar interests to come together. I never even had an email address until I went to university. I’d barely ever used the internet before.** But once I found online communities, I suddenly had a way to know I wasn’t alone. Whatever you love, someone else loves it too.

(As an aside, if I’d had internet access in the 90s I would totally have been a fanfic writer. Actually, I was a fanfic writer – privately, on paper.*** But I’d already stopped writing fics by the time I got online. Which is a little bit sad, because I never got to experience that particular community.)

Then, of course, geeking out over stuff – being enthusiastic about something – became cool. But I’m happy to say that by that point, I no longer cared what anyone thought. Thank goodness. Took me long enough.

The point of this story, quite aside from don’t be as wimpy as me, is never let anyone make you feel ashamed of your passions. Love what you love, and be proud – whether it’s building robots or collecting obscure varieties of tea or dressing up as a different anime character every weekend. It took me maybe ten years to go from being ashamed of what I love to being proud of it (and, you know, even making a living out of it. Maybe. Fingers crossed. If this book takes off). It shouldn’t take that long. It shouldn’t take any time at all. Own it.

 

*If my best school friend is reading this, she’d probably argue with that assessment. But then, even the quietest person needs someone to be noisy with.

**Yes, at the turn of the century it was possible for someone to reach the age of 18 without knowing anything about the internet. Crazy, I know.

***I’m sure you’re longing to know what I wrote fics for, so I’ll tell you this: the first fic I ever wrote was for the Ace Ventura movies. Remember those, with Jim Carrey? And yes, I know that’s weird. And no, you can’t read it.


Cover_image_DARKHAVEN_AFE_Smith

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

HarperCollins
Amazon (global link)
Barnes & Noble
Google play
iBooks
Kobo

Scavenger_day14

A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.

Author_photo_DARKHAVEN_AFE_Smith

Website
Facebook
Twitter
DARKHAVEN on Goodreads

 

A Review of Thorn Jack, By Katherine Harbour

ThornJackCover
In July, I interviewed Katherine about Thorn Jack and here is my review. It can also be found on GoodReads and Barnes & Noble.
Let me preface by saying I don’t normally read YA, some of the standards in it tend to annoy me. That being said, Katherine Harbour did an excellent job with Thorn Jack. The story and characters were so interesting I was able to completely ignore those aspects that I usually find so bothersome.
The protagonists remind me of people I know, or could’ve known, in college. They’re well rounded, have depth, and are filled with wonderful flaws that make them feel very human and very real. She took a very interesting path with the faeries in the book, urbanizing them, but blending the modernizing with traditional stories. In fact, one of the things I enjoyed was she, subtly, walks you through how the fae (Fata in the book) went from the old stories to the modern. An  especially interesting, and enjoyable aspect of the story is how it walks the line between faerie tale and ghost story. That’s a line I had never even thought about existing, and Ms. Harbour crafts that novel idea (no pun intended) into a really fascinating story.
The characters at times did annoy me at times, but to me that is just further proof of how well developed they were. That being said, I grew to like them all, to care about what happens to them, and I’m eager to see where their story goes from here.
I don’t like to give away details about the story, I know I prefer to experience stories fresh. So while nothing that follows isn’t really a spoiler, it might give away some things you might prefer to find for yourself.
Now that you’ve been warned, I do have to give credit for some very interesting features:
The oracle being autistic was a nice touch, and played very well. The character herself doesn’t appear much, but I found her to be one of the most interesting.
The way the legend of Celtic Hounds was blended into the fae was a nice touch.
Silvie could’ve fallen into the trap of too many stereotypes, but the character is saved by a personality that doesn’t fall into the traditional “goth” stereotype. In fact, I could easily see her out growing the affectations and evolving into a very interesting witch/wizard character as she matures.
I really like the notion of the Jacks and Jills (female version of the Jacks) in the story. A nice touch to bring that old children’s story in.
I love the misdirection associated with the moth key, and the truth behind its origins.
If you like YA, you’ll probably love this book. If you don’t like YA, but you like a good urban fantasy/urban faerie tale, you’ll probably like this book as well. It’s well worth the read.

Interview with Katherine Harbour

ThornJackCover

It’s my sincere pleasure to have the opportunity to interview Katherine Harbour, author of the novel Thorn Jack. A modern retelling of the Scottish ballad, “Tam-Lin.” It’s always nice to meet a fellow faerie fan, especially one who does such a fine job with it. I don’t normally go for the YA subgenre, but if more books were like this, I’d become a quick convert. It’s a dark and haunting story filled with characters that have depth and genuine voices that make them both believable and relatable. Katherine also has a gift with imagery and I found her prose truly exceptional. Simply put, it’s everything a good book should be; a great story with interesting characters that you genuinely care about.
Katherine was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule promoting the book to join me at the bar for a pint the craic.

Hi, Katherine. First, congratulations on the publication! Welcome to A Quiet Pint, and thanks for taking time from what is no doubt a busy schedule to share a glass and answer some questions.
Thank you!

First question, and possibly the most important: what are you drinking?
Starbucks espresso. I like to be wired when I write.

What about the legend of Tam Lin did you find most appealing? What about the story made you want to do a modern retelling?
I like that the girl rescues the boy, that the faery queen, the antagonist who is going to sacrifice Tam Lin, might actually love him. I wanted to write a modern version because I had the idea of making it more of a ghost story and adding another dimension, such as the heroine’s sister.

As writers, we’re supposed to be like parents and not have a favorite child (character), but we all do. Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite character is Finn. She was fun to write as she began to awaken from her grief and became intrigued by Jack and his very dangerous family—she’s part Alice in Wonderland, part Nancy Drew. As she developed into a young woman whose curiosity led her into situations where she had to use her wits to survive, I became so proud.

What character was the easiest for you to relate to, and which was the most difficult?
Finn was the easiest character to relate to. Jack was one of the most difficult, as he’s someone scarred by his past as a killer and struggling out of a nightmare and into a life he doesn’t think he deserves. Caliban, his savage nemesis, was also a bit hard to connect with.

How much research did you do for this book?
I tried to read or re-read every book on Celtic folklore or faeries I could find. I also bastardized much of the Gaelic and Celtic languages, since most of the Fatas in Fairy Hollow are Irish.

You clearly have a love of faeries, what about them most appeals to you?
My first encounter with a faery was Maleficent in Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty. In the ‘80s, Charles de Lint and Terri Windling wrote faeries and elves into the modern world and it became a popular subgenre. Then I began reading Celtic mythology and found the faery folk to be a little terrifying, especially their associations with the dead, their capricious personalities, and the variety of shapes they took, from beautiful, to puzzling, to grotesque.

Do you believe in faeries?
Hmm. You’re not supposed to talk about them because they might be listening.

Did you know from the start where the story was going to go, or did you get surprised along the way? If so, when and by whom?
I basically knew where the story was headed, but I was surprised by some twists and turns. I was surprised by the introduction of the Black Scissors, (I woke up one morning with the poem describing him in my head), and by his being Reiko’s former true love. Reiko Fata, the ruthless Fata queen, also surprised me by revealing that she’d grown a heart.

Will we see these characters again in a future novel?
There are two novels—Briar Queen and Nettle King—set to follow Thorn Jack. Briar Queen, #2, is still being revised. I’m just finishing the first draft of Nettle King, #3. Finn’s, Jack’s, Christie’s, and Sylvie’s encounters with the Fatas haven’t ended yet.

In the film version of the book, who do you see as playing the main characters?
I don’t know. I’ve got such a vivid picture in my head of the main characters. I’ve placed some ideas by others on my Thorn Jack Pinterest page, such as Emma Watson for Phouka and Chloe Grace Moretz for Finn.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
All of the fantasy and sci fi authors chosen by Harper Voyager through the open submissions call have intriguing books being released in the next few months. I strongly suggest checking them out!

Thanks again, I wish you great success with Thorn Jack and your writing career, and hopefully you’ll get a chance to stop by again sometime.
Thank you!

You can find Thorn Jack online at the usual providers: Barnes & Noble, direct from Harper Collins, Amazon, iTunes, Google, Indiebound, and Audible. You can find Katherine at her website, here.