Friday, October 21, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Putting on the Witch
Series:  A Retired Witches Mystery 3
Authors:  Joyce and Jim Lavene
Publisher:  Berkley, October 4, 2016
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  US$7.99 (print and eBook)
ISBN:  9780425268278 (print); 9781101625446 (eBook)

In the latest mystery from the bestselling authors of Looking for Mr. Good Witch, the retired witches of Wilmington, North Carolina, are ready to kick up their heels...

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks...

Qwill's Thoughts

Putting on the Witch is the 3rd novel in the Retired Witches Mystery series by Joyce and Jim Lavene. The series features Mollie Elsie, and Olivia, a coven of 3 witches seeking to retire and pass the Coven on to younger witches. Olivia is a ghost and her daughter, Dorothy, is now part of the Coven. Brian, the son of powerful witches, has also joined the Coven and is Dorothy's boyfriend much to his snobby parents' chagrin.

The novel starts with high tension as Dorothy's father, Drago Rasmun, shows up to purportedly get to know his daughter, Dorothy. Olivia, Mollie and Elsie are very suspicious of Drago showing up unannounced. Olivia hid Dorothy from Drago - he's a renegade and evil. Brian is less than happy at Drago's appearance. There is not much that the Coven can do about it though. Drago is extraordinarily powerful. Combined they feel that their power could not halt Drago. So they have tea instead!

Invitations show up for each of the Coven members for Brian's birthday party at his parent's Castle. Brian has a strained relationship with his parents and is not looking forward to the party. To support Brian, the rest of his Coven will attend. The party starts off nicely enough and things are fine until there is a murder of a high ranking member of the Witches Council who is a progressive and was in favor of easing some rules regarding witches especially concerning witches married to non-witches. The castle is put on lockdown for 24-hours so that the murderer can be found.

Witch politics come to the forefront in Putting on the Witch and it's fascinating. There is so much going on - tension between and among families, between old school witches and more modern witches, the murder mystery, and much more. The main characters - Mollie, Dorothy, Olivia, Elsie, and Brian are written with great warmth and depth. They Coven is determined to figure out who the killer is and they run into all sorts of problems and very real dangers.

I love the members of the Coven. They are all likeable and have distinct personalities. The friendship between Mollie, Olivia and Elsie is lovely. They are incredibly supportive of each other. Even death (Olivia's) can't separate these friends. Putting on the Witch is a wonderful mystery with great characters and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this entire series.

Note: Sadly both Joyce and Jim Lavene have passed away. Check out all of their mysteries:


Spell Booked
A Retired Witches Mystery 1
Berkley, December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,304 pages

The national bestselling authors of the Missing Pieces Mysteries summon up the first Retired Witches Mystery in a brand new supernatural series…

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…

Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.

They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

See Qwill's review here.

Looking for Mr. Good Witch
A Retired Witches Mystery 2
Berkley, October 6, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Everyone’s favorite retired witches from Spell Booked have returned and are diving into troubled waters to find a sinister sea witch…


A sea witch has been leaving bodies in her wake up and down the Carolina coast, baffling authorities who are finding drowning victims with no water in their lungs. The fin-icky female will continue to kill young male witches until she finds her perfect man—the one who survives her mating ritual—so she can live for another hundred years. And now coven hopeful Brian Fuller is about to be ensnared in her net.

Retired witches Molly and Elsie, along with the ghost of Olivia and her daughter Dorothy, need all the help they can get to stop the sea witch. Aided by a selkie and a crème puff–craving mermaid, they’re determined to keep Brian out of her murky clutches. But are they all about to get in over their heads?

See Qwill's review here.

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene from the publisher. US ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on October 31, 2016. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 16

This is the sixteenth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.

Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here

Kameron Hurley (2011)

Empire Ascendant
Worldbreaker Saga 2
Angry Robot, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 544 pages
Trade Paperback and eBook, October 6, 2015

Loyalties are tested when worlds collide…

Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.

Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful – but unpredictable –magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress’s sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire’s undoing.

But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?

In this devastating sequel to The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley transports us back to a land of blood mages and sentient plants, dark magic, and warfare on a scale that spans worlds.

File Under: Fantasy

The Stars Are Legion
Saga Press, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Set within a system of decaying world-ships travelling through deep space, this breakout novel of epic science fiction follows a pair of sisters who must wrest control of their war-torn legion of worlds—and may have to destroy everything they know in order to survive.

On the outer rim of the universe, a galactic war has been waged for centuries upon hundreds of world-ships. But these worlds will continue to die through decay and constant war unless a desperate plan succeeds.

Anat, leader of the Katazyrna world-ship and the most fearsome raiding force on the Outer Rim, wants peace. To do so she offers the hand of her daughter, Jayd, to her rival. Jayd has dreamed about leading her mother’s armies to victory her whole life—but she has a unique ability, and that makes her leverage, not a leader. As Anat convinces her to spend the rest of her life wed to her family’s greatest enemy, it is up to Jayd’s sister Zan—with no stomach for war—to lead the cast off warriors she has banded together to victory and rescue Jayd. But the war does not go at all as planned…

In the tradition of The Fall of Hyperion and Dune, The Stars are Legion is an epic and thrilling tale about familial love, revenge, and war as imagined by one of the genre’s most imaginative new writers.

Amy Impellizzeri (2014)

Secrets of Worry Dolls
Wyatt-MacKenzie, December 1, 2016
Trade Paperback, 284 pages

According to Mayan tradition, if you whisper your troubles to the Worry Dolls, they will do the worrying instead of you—therefore, it follows that Worry Dolls are the keepers of a great many secrets . . .

On the eve of the end of the world—according to the Mayan calendar—Mari Guarez Roselli’s secrets are being unraveled by her daughter, Lu.

Lu’s worry dolls are at-capacity as she tries to outrun the ghosts from her past—including loved ones stolen on 9/11—by traveling through her mother’s homeland of Guatemala, to discover the painful reasons behind her own dysfunctional childhood, and why she must trust in the magic of the legend.

Emmi Itäranta (2014)

The Weaver
Harper Voyager, November 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

The author of the critically acclaimed Memory of Water returns with this literary ecological tale in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin and Sheri S. Tepper, in which an innocent young woman becomes entangled in a web of ancient secrets and deadly lies that lie at the dark center of her prosperous island world.

Eliana is a model citizen of the island, a weaver in the prestigious House of Webs. She also harbors a dangerous secret—she can dream, an ability forbidden by the island’s elusive council of elders. No one talks about the dreamers, the undesirables ostracized from society.

But the web of protection Eliana has woven around herself begins to unravel when a young girl is found lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the stones outside the house. Robbed of speech by her attackers, the only clue to her identity is one word tattooed in invisible ink across her palm: Eliana. Why does this mysterious girl bear her name? What links her to the weaver—and could she hold Eliana’s fate in her hand?

As Eliana finds herself growing closer to this injured girl she is bound to in ways she doesn’t understand, the enchanting lies of the island begin to crumble, revealing a deep and ancient corruption. Joining a band of brave rebels determined to expose the island’s dark secrets, Eliana becomes a target of ruthless forces determined to destroy her. To save herself and those she loves, she must call on the power within her she thought was her greatest weakness: her dreams.

Eowyn Ivey (2012)

To the Bright Edge of the World
Little, Brown and Company, August 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

An atmospheric, transporting tale of adventure, love, and survival from the bestselling author of The Snow Child, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

In the winter of 1885, decorated war hero Colonel Allen Forrester leads a small band of men on an expedition that has been deemed impossible: to venture up the Wolverine River and pierce the vast, untamed Alaska Territory. Leaving behind Sophie, his newly pregnant wife, Colonel Forrester records his extraordinary experiences in hopes that his journal will reach her if he doesn't return--once he passes beyond the edge of the known world, there's no telling what awaits him.

The Wolverine River Valley is not only breathtaking and forbidding but also terrifying in ways that the colonel and his men never could have imagined. As they map the territory and gather information on the native tribes, whose understanding of the natural world is unlike anything they have ever encountered, Forrester and his men discover the blurred lines between human and wild animal, the living and the dead. And while the men knew they would face starvation and danger, they cannot escape the sense that some greater, mysterious force threatens their lives.

Meanwhile, on her own at Vancouver Barracks, Sophie chafes under the social restrictions and yearns to travel alongside her husband. She does not know that the winter will require as much of her as it does her husband, that both her courage and faith will be tested to the breaking point. Can her exploration of nature through the new art of photography help her to rediscover her sense of beauty and wonder?

The truths that Allen and Sophie discover over the course of that fateful year change both of their lives--and the lives of those who hear their stories long after they're gone--forever.

Benedict Jacka (2012)

An Alex Verus Novel 8
Ace, April 4, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Mage Alex Verus is caught between a rock and a hard place in the eighth urban fantasy novel from the national bestselling author of Burned.

Right now I wasn’t seeing Richard as the teacher out of my nightmares, he was just another Dark mage, and I looked into the future to see what would happen if I turned that knife on him instead…

Alex Verus is still haunted by his time apprenticed to Richard Drakh. He’s been free of him for many years, but now the only way to keep his friends from being harmed is to again work for Richard and his deadly ally. Even worse, he’s forced to bring the Light mage Anne into this servitude as well.

After weeks of being hunted and finally cornered into what he thought was his last stand, Alex never thought his life would be spared—and never anticipated at what price. This time, the diviner can see no way out…

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Interview with J.B. Rockwell, author of Serengeti

Please welcome J.B. Rockwell to The Qwillery. Serengeti was published in February 2016 by Severed Press.

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

J.B.:  Oddly, not all that long ago. I honestly didn’t even think about trying my hand at writing until about six or seven years but that’s sort of a thing with me: I train for one thing and always seem to end up working in something else. I work in IT now but started out wanting to be an archaeologist, so obviously I’m not very good at picking something and sticking to it. So, blah-blah-blah, when did I start writing. Maybe...five years ago. At least, that's when I finally stopped messing around and figured out enough to actually buckle down and write something end to end. Like most writers, I'm an avid reader and have been for as long as I can remember. I’m also a maxi big SFF fan so I naturally gravitated toward writing speculative fiction. As to to why started writing…ahem, well, it was kinda, sorta a challenge. To myself. I wanted to see if I could even do it and after many false starts and wrong turnings—ta-da! Finished book! That said, I'll admit, I was completely naïve and had no idea at the time just how complicated the publishing industry is much less how many great writers are out there trying to get their big break. As you can imagine, there's been a sharp learning curve over the years. As you can also imagine, that first book I wrote only exists on my hard drive--it's never seen the light of day.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

J.B.:  Total pantser. Complete, chaotic, hot mess of a pantser. I have so much respect for all you diligent plotters out there but I've tried it and unfortunately all that structure and discipline just doesn't quite work me. I usually start a book with the beginning figured out, the ending and a rough ideas for plot points along the way, then I just jump right in and start pounding at the keys. That might not be the smartest way to go about it or the most efficient but it works for me and, oddly, the lunacy of it keeps me from getting stressed out.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

J.B.:  Umm…everything? Okay, maybe not everything but until you've sat down and written a book you don't realize how hard it is to come up with an interesting plot, plausible circumstances and engaging characters, and then spend 100,000 words stringing it all together. When I started writing, just finding my voice was a challenge but that's finally come to me after a lot of practice (and with a lot of help from my writer group). Nowadays it's that panic moment when you're fresh out of ideas, then the relief when you finally find one, followed by the panic that you've just stolen it from somewhere else and it's not a unique idea at all. So, I guess I'd say the biggest challenge right now is just that constant self guessing. And then, of course, there's dealing with bad reviews. Not exactly earth shattering revelations, I know, but I more of a shallow puddle than a deep well.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

J.B.:  The works of other writers, obviously. There's a fine line between emulation and copycatting (see that whole second guessing thing I mentioned previously) but there are authors I admire (C.J. Cherryh and Elizabeth Bear immediately come to mind) that have voice and themes and character development that I really love and their works have definitely influenced my style. I'm a huge fan of folklore and mythology, and elements of both tend to slip in now and then, and I live in the country so nature themes, and that whole big world/small community concept often comes through.

TQDescribe Serengeti in 140 characters or less.

J.B.:  Wrecked and abandoned, Serengeti—a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI mind—struggles to save her crew as scavengers close in.


TQTell us something about Serengeti that is not found in the book description.

J.B.:  In addition to being sentient, Serengeti learns to feel and experience strong emotions. That aspect of her character is very important to the story and the themes behind it. Rather than being some cold, calculating, all analytics and no heart AI, Serengeti very much cares for her crew, and her efforts to save them are driven by more than just a sense of duty. And she's not the only one--there are many AIs scattered across the book’s story arc and I tried to give each one a unique personality. Make some 'nice' and others jerks. Even give them a sense of humor because, ya know, I like to work in a few jokes now and then. Hee-hee. Ahem. Yes.

TQWhat inspired you to write Serengeti? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

J.B.:  I love the idea of AI but it seemed like most of the AI characters I came across fell into that cold, emotionless, ‘I’m-a-machine-beep-beep’ category which is just so ho-hum. So one day I had this odd idea I jotted down about a character dreaming of dying but never actually dying and since I don’t write about vampires (good on you who do, just not my thing personally) I turned that random thought into an AI ship. Pretty obvious, right? Right??!! As for science fiction, I love the possibilities. The vastness of space and the thousands upon thousands of stars and planets out there. The infinite number of landscapes and plot possibilities and imagining tech that doesn’t exist yet. I’m not a ‘hard’ sci-fi girl (i.e., heavy on the science sci-fi) and I like a heavy dose of character development rather than straight up bash ‘em all into stardust stories, but that’s another thing I like about sci-fi: there are lots of iterations and room for just about everyone. Oh, and robots. I lurves me robots…

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Serengeti?

J.B.:  Well, when everything is set in space, you have to think a lot about speed and distances and how things move. What things are made of and how they would withstand collisions and interactions with other objects—that kind of thing. Plus, there are aspects to celestial bodies that need to be considered and theories on how faster than light travel would work. I’m not saying I got it all right—the science purists will no doubt find a lot of logic flaws and science fails—but sometimes you have to tweak the science to suit the story. Luckily I have a few more science oriented friends who picked up on some of the more…obvious fails and helped me brainstorm ways around them. Thank you, loyal beta readers!

TQIn Serengeti who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Did any of the characters surprise you?

J.B.Serengeti, without a doubt--easiest and hardest. I thought about her character for a long time before I started writing and since the book is told from her perspective I spent a lot of time in her head. Well, in her mind, I guess since she’s a ship and doesn’t really have a head. Anywho… Writing her from a character perspective was well, not easy but comfortable, and just sort of came to me as I went. The hard part about her is she’s a ship and interacts with other characters inside her. Little things like showing emotion suddenly become very complicated, especially when dealing with a sentient AI. Basically, I had to throw out the big book of facial expressions and start over using things like voice inflection and and camera motions, that kind of thing to give the characters in the book something react to and interact with. That was a challenge, let me tell you. As to which character surprised me, I’d have to say her Captain, Henricksen. Initially, he wasn’t mean to play all that big of a role in the story, but Henricksen grew on me and ended up spawning a whole ream of sub-plots and undercurrents that really added to the depth of the story. In an odd sort of way, Henricksen makes Serengeti feel complete.

TQWhich question about Serengeti do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

J.B.:  Question: How do you name your ships?

Answer: Glad you asked! I spend a lot of time picking names and each one is important in some way. Anyone who’s served in the Coast Guard or Navy knows there’s a nautical tradition of giving classes of ships themed names. I copied that to a certain extent in Serengeti. For instance, all the Valkyries like Serengeti are named for deserts and islands on Earth. And all the Dreadnoughts are human-shaped monsters from folklore and mythology. Other ships are more random names (things I just liked or had meaning to me for some other reason) so I didn’t flow this theme down into every class of ship, but that naming convention was important for the Valkyries and Dreadnoughts and underscores some of the book’s themes.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Serengeti.

J.B.:  Quotes!

Quote the First: Ten’s feed was garbled—Serengeti slipped in and fixed it when Finlay wasn’t looking—and the other feeds from most of the other probes were empty. Just twinkles and black and line after line of data that basically said the universe was stardust and moonbeams and could Serengeti please keep it down a bit because she was ever so noisy.

Quote the Second: Space was many things, but it was seldom quiet.

Quote the Third (which is actually a tiny scene):

“I want that probe open, 442,” Serengeti said sternly. “Repair the doors and then run a full diagnostic so we don’t have any more problems. A full diagnostic,” she added, emphasizing that one word, “inside and out.”

A strange, strangled sound from Ten and his compartment doors magically sighed open.

Too late, you little pain in the ass.

TQWhat's next?

J.B.:  Next is a good question. I’ve got a few things written and being considered by my agent (insert shameless plug for Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group), including a sequel to Serengeti. And,of course, there’s always a manuscript in progress—a couple in the Serengeti world, a couple in other, unrelated universes. I’m sort of hoarder of written things—I always feel better when there are a few completed projects in the can just in case the right opportunity presents itself.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

J.B.:  Thank you for hosting me and letting be blather away!

Severed Press, February 4, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti—a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain—on her own; wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space.

On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside.

Then a scavenger ship arrives to pick Serengeti\'s bones clean.

Her engines dead, her guns long silenced, Serengeti and her last two robots must find a way to fight the scavengers off and save the crew trapped inside her.

About J.B. Rockwell

J.B. Rockwell is a New Englander, which is important to note because it means she's (a) hard headed, (b) frequently stubborn, and (c) prone to fits of snarky sarcasticness. As a kid she subsisted on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore, mythology augmented by generous helpings of science fiction and fantasy. As a quasi-adult she dreamed of being the next Indian Jones and even pursued (and earned!) a degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, those dreams of being an archaeologist didn't quite work out. Through a series of twists and turns (involving cats, a marriage, and a SCUBA certification, amongst other things) she ended up working in IT for the U.S. Coast Guard and now writes the types of books she used to read. Not a bad ending for an Indiana Jones wannabe…

Website  ~  Twitter @Rockwell_JB  ~  Facebook

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 15

This is the fifteenth in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.

Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here

Mitchell Hogan (2011)

At the Sign of the Crow and Moon
A Sorcery Ascendant Prequel Novella
Mitchell Hogan, July 4, 2016
Kindle eBook, 81 pages

A fast-paced fantasy adventure in the world of the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, from Aurealis Award winning author Mitchell Hogan.

Ten years before A Crucible of Souls…

In the bustling capital city of the Mahruse Empire, Felicienne Shyrise spends her days as a talented investigator, taking on stolen goods and missing person cases, and the occasional murder the city guard are too incompetent, or too lazy, to resolve.

During nights, she hones her skills playing Dominion, a board game almost as complicated as life itself. She dreams of making a name for herself, and becoming the richest woman in the Empire.

But when she’s roped into a murky investigation by a First Adjudicator to the immortal Emperor himself, her life is thrown into disarray. Will this be the perfect opportunity to showcase her skills and make valuable connections, or will her future now be in the hands of political powers that can never be denied?

Working against her will, and afraid of the consequences of refusing the commission, she uncovers evidence that points to an attempt on the Emperor’s life. Felicienne rapidly finds herself a target, and must use her considerable wits to uncover the plot of an unseen enemy who always seems to be one step ahead of the game.

This is a standalone novella of 25,000 words. No prior knowledge of the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence is required to enjoy it, which means it's a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Sorcery Ascendant veterans to spend a little more time with Felicienne Shyrise.

A Shattered Empire
Sorcery Ascendant Sequence 3
Harper Voyager, September 13, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 592 pages

In this gritty and breathtaking conclusion to the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, the award-winning fantasy series, a young sorcerer must learn to wield his extraordinary powers to defeat two warring empires.

In a battle of armies and sorcerers, empires will fall.

After young Caldan’s parents were slain, a group of monks raised the boy and initiated him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery. But when the Mahruse Empire was attacked, and the lives of his friends hung in the balance, he was forced to make a dangerous choice.

Now, as two mighty empires face off in a deadly game of supremacy, potent sorcery and creatures from legend have been unleashed. To turn the tide of war and prevent annihilation, Caldan must learn to harness his fearsome and forbidden magic. But as he grows into his powers, the young sorcerer realizes that not all the monsters are on the other side.

And though traps and pitfalls lie ahead, and countless lives are at stake, one thing is certain: to save his life, his friends, and his world, Caldan must risk all to defeat a sorcerer of immense power.

Failure will doom the world.

Success will doom Caldan.

Jon Hollins (Jonathan Wood) (2011)

Fool's Gold
The Dragon Lords 1
Orbit, July 19, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 544 pages

Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hobbit in this rollicking fantasy adventure.

It's not easy to live in a world ruled by dragons. The taxes are high and their control is complete. But for one group of bold misfits, it's time to band together and steal back some of that wealth.

No one said they were smart.

False Idols
The Dragon Lords 2
Orbit, May 23, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 544 pages

[cover not yet revealed]
Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Hobbit in this rollicking fantasy adventure series.

The Dragons who once ruled over the land are dead.

The motley crew that stumbled through that revolution are rich and praised as saviors.

Everyone gets to live happily ever after, right?


Well, it might have worked out that way if the dragons in Kondorra had been the only ones. If they hadn't been just the tip of the spear about to fall upon the whole world...

Chris Holm (2012)

The Killing Kind
Mulholland Books, August 2, 2016
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 15, 2015

A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up a target himself.

- Winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel
- Nominated for the Lefty Award for Best World Mystery Novel
- Nominated for the Best Thriller Barry Award
- Nominated for the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery

Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he's not so bad a guy.

Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life--and beloved fiancée--and set out on a path of redemption...or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.

Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts--he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he'll make sure whoever's coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living--but a great way to make himself a target.

The Approach
Mulholland Books, August 9, 2016
eBook, 32 pages

Hitman with a heart of gold Michael Hendricks is back in this digital-exclusive short story.

When a strip-club mogul puts out a hit on a dancer who won't give him off-the-clock attention, Hendricks takes a detour to Las Vegas to stop the job in its tracks. With tech genius Lester in his ear and a fake identity as cover, Hendricks has only one problem: he has no idea what the target looks like. Against the scorching heat of the city's desert outskirts, a case of mistaken identity nearly turns fatal, but our principled hitman has a few tricks of his own up his sleeve.

Red Right Hand
Mulholland Books, September 13, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

If the good guys can't save you, call a bad guy.

When viral video of an explosive terrorist attack on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge reveals that a Federal witness long thought dead is still alive, the organization he'd agreed to testify against will stop at nothing to put him in the ground.

FBI Special Agent Charlie Thompson is determined to protect him, but her hands are tied; the FBI's sole priority is catching the terrorists before they strike again. So Charlie calls the only person on the planet who can keep her witness safe: Michael Hendricks.

Once a covert operative for the US military, Hendricks makes his living hitting hitmen... or he did, until the very organization hunting Charlie's witness--the Council--caught wind and targeted the people he loves. Teaming up with a young but determined tech whiz, Cameron, on the condition she leave him alone after the case, Hendricks reluctantly takes the job.

Of course, finding a man desperate to stay hidden is challenging enough without deadly competition, let alone when the competition's shadowy corporate backer is tangled in the terrorist conspiracy playing out around them. And now Hendricks is determined to take the Council down, even if that means wading into the center of a terror plot whose perpetrators are not what they seem.

Jason M. Hough (2013)

Zero World
Del Rey, May 31, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 560 pages
Hardcover and eBook, August 18, 2015

Published in rapid succession, Jason M. Hough’s first three novels, The Darwin Elevator, The Exodus Towers, and The Plague Forge, earned mountains of praise and comparisons to such authors as James S. A. Corey and John Scalzi. Now Hough returns with a riveting near-future spy thriller that combines the adrenaline of a high-octane James Bond adventure with mind-blowing sci-fi speculations worthy of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike any he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew—save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that seems to be Earth’s twin.

Peter discovers that this mirrored world is indeed different from his home, and far more dangerous. Cut off from all support, and with only days to complete his operation, Peter must track his quarry alone on an alien world. But he’s unprepared for what awaits on the planet’s surface, where his skills will be put to the ultimate test—and everything he knows about the universe will be challenged in ways he never could have imagined.

Includes the complete bonus novella The Dire Earth, a prequel to the bestselling sci-fi adventure The Darwin Elevator.

Injection Burn
The Dire Earth Duology 1
Del Rey, May 30, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 Pages

[cover not yet revealed]
Skyler Luiken, the daring hero of the Dire Earth Cycle, returns in the first book of a standalone action/sci-fi duology pitting a team of tenacious postapocalyptic survivalists against an incredible alien foe.

Escape Velocity
The Dire Earth Duology 2
Del Rey, June 27, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 Pages

[cover not yet revealed]
In the second book of the action/sci-fi duology that began with Injection Burn, Skyler Luiken’s elite team of space-faring adventurers must defeat a violent, technologically superior foe if they wish to ever return to Earth.

Sylvia Izzo Hunter (2014)

A Season of Spells
A Noctis Magicae Novel 3
Ace, December 6, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

In the latest novel from the author of Lady of Magick, Sophie and Gray Marshall must save the Kingdom of Britain from a tide of dark magic…

Three years after taking up residence at the University of Din Edin, Sophie and Gray return to London, escorting Lucia MacNeill, heiress of Alba, to meet the British prince to whom she is betrothed. Alas, sparks fail to fly between the pragmatic Lucia and the romantic Prince Roland, and the marriage alliance seems to be on shaky ground.

Sophie tries to spark a connection between Roland and Lucia by enlisting them both in her latest scheme: reopening the mysterious and long-shuttered women’s college at Oxford. Though a vocal contingent believes that educating women spells ruin, Sophie and her friends dream of rebuilding the college for a new generation of women scholars.

But the future of the college—and of the kingdom—are imperiled when the men who tried to poison King Henry escape from prison and vanish without a trace. Sophie and Gray will need all their strength and ingenuity—and the help of friends both present and long past—to thwart the enemy at Britain’s gates.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cover Reveal - Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller

Borrowed Souls
A Soul Charmer Novel 1
Talos, April 4, 2017
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.


About Chelsea

Chelsea Mueller writes gritty contemporary fantasy (BORROWED SOULS, 2017). She founded speculative fiction website Vampire Book Club, blogs about TV and romance novels for several other awesome blogs, and is co-chair of SF/F charity Geeky Giving. She loves bad cover songs, dramatic movies, and TV vampires. She lives in Texas, and has been known to say y’all. Find her online at

Website  ~  Twitter @ChelseaVBC  ~  Instagram  ~  Facebook

Author Giveaway

1 winner, open internationally, contest open through 11:59 pm EST 10/31/16.


The Veil by Chloe Neill SIGNED!
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
1 custom "Soul Magic" candle (it smells of forest, storms, and cinnamon)

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