Monday, May 29, 2017

2017 Longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic



The Sunburst Award Committee has announced the 2017 longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

Below are the works longlisted by the jury, with links to their publishers, books and stories (where possible).




The Sunburst Award official shortlist will be announced in late June. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2017.

The jurors for the 2017 award are Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction. Past winners of the Sunburst Award include Ruth Ozeki, Guy Gavriel Kay, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Charles de Lint, Thomas King, and last year’s winner Gemma Files.

For additional information about the Sunburst Award, the nominees, juries, as well as previous awards, eligibility, and the selection process, please visit the official website at www.sunburstaward.org.

Guest Blog by Victoria Thompson and Review and Giveaway of Murder in the Bowery


Please welcome Victoria Thompson to The Qwillery. Murder in the Bowery, the 19th Gaslight Mystery, was published on May 2nd by Berkley.







Newsboy Makes the News
          Newsboys were everywhere in turn of the century New York City. More than a dozen newspapers covered the City’s happenings, and ragged children—mostly boys but a few girls, too—stood on street corners morning and night in all weathers to sell them for a penny or two. Most of these children were homeless orphans or had simply been abandoned by families unable to care for them any longer, so their home was on the street.
          Eventually, charities stepped in to help these children by opening Newsboys’ Lodging Houses. In these houses, the “Newsies”, as they were called, could find a hot meal and a bed for the night for a nickel each, although the boys preferred to “carry the banner,” which was their slang for sleeping on the street. The Newsies didn’t care for charity, and they certainly didn’t appreciate being cheated, so when two of the biggest newspapers raised the price of the papers for the boys without raising the customer’s price, they went on strike. Could a bunch of rag-tag children beat Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst at their own game?
          That’s only one question Private Investigator Frank Malloy and his new bride, Sarah Brandt, must answer in Murder in the Bowery when the search for a missing newsboy leads them to the innocent debutant, a ruthless gangster, and a Bowery “guide” who takes rich men on “slumming” tours of the neighborhood. But none of these people is who or what they seem, and Frank and Sarah have to find the truth before a killer strikes again.





Murder in the Bowery
Series:  A Gaslight Mystery 19
Publisher:  Berkley, May 2, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print); US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781101987117 (print); 9781101987124 (eBook)

The latest Gaslight Mystery from the bestselling author of Murder in Morningside Heights finds Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy searching for a connection between a murdered newsie and a high society woman with dangerous habits.

Frank Malloy’s latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He’s searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards.

When Will’s name is mentioned, Freddie runs off—only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased.  Frank can’t be sure if Estelle’s risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.

Frank will need Sarah’s help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie’s death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth.



Jennifer's Review

The latest installment in the long running historical Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson is entitled Murder in the Bowery. This time we see former society debutante turned midwife, Sarah Brandt Malloy, and her private detective husband, Frank Malloy, return to the seedier side of turn-of-the-century New York in search of a clever killer.

Sarah and Frank are the perfect fictional couple. She is a strong willed yet loving woman and he is a tough former police detective who has a compassionate heart. Since Frank unexpectedly inherited a fortune, left the police force, and finally felt able to marry Sarah, he has opened a detective agency and now takes any client that intrigues him, regardless of they ability to pay him a fee. Sarah and Frank's live in newly renovated home with their children, Frank's deaf son Brian from his first marriage and Sarah's ward Catherine, Maeve, the children's cheeky nursemaid who grew up on the streets, and Malloy's stoic Irish mother. Gino Donatelli, also a former police officer, is a frequent visitor as he is now Frank's assistant and has strong feelings for the sweet but hardened Maeve.

The mystery unfolds as Frank is getting used to having a new private inquiry service and Sarah is busy searching for a property in the slums of New York to turn into a free maternity home. Frank is tasked to find a young newsboy named Freddie “Two-Toes” Bert during the strike that pits the newsies against the rich and powerful newspaper owners by his brother, Will Bert, a handsome and smartly dressed young man. Frank and Gino quickly locate Freddie, who instantly runs off at the mention of Will's name and is later found murdered in an alley. Frank vows to locate the murderer, feeling that he may have led the killer to the poor boy. He discovers that the recent murder of the young Estelle Longacre, a beautiful society girl also found dead in the Bowery, where she had no reason to be, is inextricably linked to Freddie's death.

During the course of the investigation we are introduced to various characters closely linked to the victims, both those in the slums and those in society. In the Bowery we meet Raven and Kid Blink. Raven is a young newsie who was close to Freddie, and Kid Blink is the clever and hard leader of the newsboy strike who looks after the newsies like an older brother, and Black Jack Robinson, a frightening and powerful Bowery gangster who knew both of the victims. On the society side we meet Estelle's extended and dysfunctional family. Estelle's father, Horace Longacre is a miserable tyrant who also happens to be on his death bed and exhibits little tender feelings for his family. Penelope Longacre is Estelle's surly spinster aunt who's only concern is for her ward, Norman Tufts, a hapless young man whom Penelope hoped Estelle would soon marry. The only servants in their household are Marie and Tom, a married couple who serve as maid and man-of-all-work, who prove to be integral to solving the mystery.

As with all of the Gaslight Mysteries, Murder in the Bowery moves seamlessly from the murder plot to the behind the scenes lives of both the main characters and those who are entangled in the murder. The author has such a knack for strong characterization that both the well-loved main characters and the new ones fueling the current mystery practically jump off the page with their realness. Thompson is able to keep the story fresh and interesting and fans of this long running series will not be disappointed with this new installment.





About Victoria

Photo by Monica Z
About the author Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, is a May 2017 release from Berkley Prime Crime. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. Find out more at www.victoriathompson.com. Follow her on Facebook at Victoria.Thompson.Author and on Twitter @gaslightvt.









The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a copy of Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson from the publisher. US ONLY

How:
  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Bowery“ with or without the quote marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.
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 June 7, 2017. 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.*

The 2017 Aurora Awards Ballot


The 2017 Aurora Awards Ballot has been announced by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

From the CSFFA FAQ:
What are the awards? 
The Aurora Awards are kind of like the Peoples Choice awards for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, except just for Canadians.  There are twelve categories, some of them for literary works, and some of them for amateur or what we call Fan works.  All Canadians may nominate or vote for the awards.  Each year’s awards are for original works or activites done by Canadians in the previous calendar year.




2017 Aurora Award Ballot 

This ballot is for works done in 2016 by Canadians. The Aurora Awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. The top five nominated works were selected. Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place.

Best Novel
  • Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
  • Company Town by Madeline Ashby, Tor Books
  • The Courier by Gerald Brandt, DAW Books
  • The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
  • Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
  • Stars like Cold Fire by Brent Nichols, Bundoran Press

Best Young Adult Novel
  • Day of the Demon by Randy McCharles, CreateSpace
  • Door into Faerie by Edward Willett, Coteau Books
  • Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun, Harlequin Teen
  • Icarus Down by James Bow, Scholastic Canada
  • Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience by Michell Plested, Evil Alter Ego Press The Wizard Killer - Season One by Adam Dreece, ADZO Publishing

Best Short Fiction
  • Age of Miracles by Robert Runté, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Frog Song by Erika Holt, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Living in Oz by Bev Geddes, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Marion's War by Hayden Trenholm, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
  • Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal el-Mohtar, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press When Phakack Came to Steal Papa, A Ti-Jean Story by Ace Jordyn, On Spec Magazine

Best Poem/Song
No award will be given out in this category in 2017 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Graphic Novel
  • Angel Catbird, Volume One by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillian, Dark Horse Books Crash and Burn by Kate Larking and Finn Lucullan, Astres Press
  • Earthsong by Crystal Yates, Webcomic
  • It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
  • Weregeek by Alina Pete, Webcomic

Best Related Work
  • Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien, Exile Editions
  • Enigma Front: Burnt, managing editor Celeste A. Peters, Analemma Books
  • Lazarus Risen edited by Hayden Trenholm and Mike Rimar, Bundoran Press
  • Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
  • Superhero Universe (Tesseracts Nineteen) edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum, EDGE

Best Visual Presentation
  • Arrival, director, Denis Villeneuve, Paramount Pictures
  • Orphan Black, Season 4, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
  • Killjoys, Season 2, Michelle Lovretta, Temple Street Productions
  • Dark Matter, Season 2, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Prodigy Pictures
  • Murdoch Mysteries, Season 9, Peter Mitchell and Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury Films

Best Artist
  • Samantha M. Beiko, cover to Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts
  • James Beveridge, covers and poster art
  • Melissa Mary Duncan, body of work
  • Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications and Company Town for Tor Books Dan O'Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press

Best Fan Writing and Publications
  • Amazing Stories Magazine, weekly column, Steve Fahnestalk
  • BCSFAzine #512 to #519, edited by Felicity Walker
  • The Nerd is the Word, articles by Dylan McEvoy
  • OBIR Magazine #4, edited by R. Graeme Cameron
  • Silver Stag Entertainment, edited by S.M. Carrière
  • Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Organizational
  • Samantha Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Winnipeg
  • R. Graeme Cameron, chair, VCON 41, Surrey, BC
  • Sandra Kasturi and Angela Keeley, co-chairs, 2016 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium
  • Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, executive, Can*Con 2016, Ottawa
  • Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work
  • Ron S. Friedman, Villains and Conflicts presentation, When Words Collide, Calgary Comic Expo, and File 770
  • Kari Maaren, Concert, SFContario
  • Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

Best of the Decade
This is a special category for this year’s awards for works published between January 2001 and December 2010. Note: Items in italics are for multi-volume works. Multi-volume stories were considered if they began prior to 2001 but ended before or close to 2011. We defined a multi-volume story as one with a continuous narrative. Finalists were chosen by an eight-person jury from across Canada. The winner will be chosen by our membership’s votes.

  • Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson, Tor Books
  • The Blue Ant Trilogy by William Gibson, Berkley
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson, Tor Books
  • The Neanderthal Parallax, Robert J. Sawyer, Tor Books
  • The Onion Girl, Charles de Lint, Tor Books
  • Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada

The View From Monday - May 29, 2017


Happy last Monday in May!

There is one debut this week:

The Bones of the Past by Craig A. Munro.

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Injection Burn (Dire Earth Cycle) by Jason M. Hough;

False Hearts by Laura Lam is out in Trade Paperback;

Arabella of Mars (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1) by David D. Levine in out in Trade Paperback (Arabella of Mars just won a Nebula Award - the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.);

Escapology by Ren Warom is out in Mass Market Paperback;

and

Invasive by Chuck Wendig is out in Trade Paperback. (Like ants? You might not after reading Invasive. Scared of ants? Then this is the stuff of nightmares.).

Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.





Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

May 29, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Gena Showalter Atlantis Series Complete Collection: Heart of the Dragon\Jewel of Atlantis\The Nymph King\The Vampire's Bride\The Amazon's Curse (e) Gena Showalter PNR - Atlantis



May 30, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Lost Lake (tp2mm) Sarah Addison Allen CW/MR
White Hot Ilona Andrews PNR - Hidden Legacy 2
Cherished (e) Christina Bauer DF - Beholder 3
Lightning in the Blood Marie Brennan F - Varekai 2
Ghosts of War (tp2mm) Bennett R. Coles SF - Virtues of War 2
Protected Lauren Dane PNR - Diablo Lake 2
Burn For Me Cynthia Eden PNR - Phoenix Fire 1
Shadow Reaper Christine Feehan PNR - Shadow Riders 2
The Damned Trilogy: A Call to Arms, The False Mirror, and The Spoils of War (e) Alan Dean Foster SF/GenEng
The Traveler (h2mm) David L. Golemon SF - Event Group Thrillers 11
Dying Breath Heather Graham PNR - Krewe of Hunters 21
Blaze: A Dragon Romance Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings 11
Blaze: Volume 4: A Dragon Romance (e) Donna Grant PNR - Dark Kings
Feedback (h2mm) Mira Grant SF/AP/PA - Newsflesh 4
Injection Burn Jason M. Hough SF - The Dire Earth Cycle 4
The Wheel of Time Companion: The People, Places, and History of the Bestselling Series (h2tp) Robert Jordan
Harriet McDougal
Alan Romanczuk
Maria Simons
LC/SF/F - Wheel of Time
Skeleton Crew: Stories (tp2mm) Stephen King Sus
The Hidden Icon Jillian Kuhlmann F - Book of Icons 1
The Dread Goddess Jillian Kuhlmann F - Book of Icons 2
False Hearts (h2tp) Laura Lam SF/Th/GenEng
Arabella of Mars (h2mm) David D. Levine AH/HistF/F - The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1
The White Road Sarah Lotz Th
Nymphs Sari Luhtanen
Miikko Oikkonen
FR
The Dinosaur Knights (h2mm) Victor Milán F - The Dinosaur Lords 2
The Bones of the Past (D) Craig A. Munro F/DF
Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices (e) Yvonne Navarro DF/P - Supernatural
Desperate Fire Christopher G. Nuttall SF - Angel in the Whirlwind 4
1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz (tp2mm) Kerryn Offord
Rick Boatright
AH - Ring of Fire 21
Mormama Kit Reed P/Sup/Gothic
Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (h2tp) Anne Rice Occ/Sup/Th - Vampire Chronicles 12
Black Tide Rising (h2mm) John Ringo
Gary Poole
SF/AP/PA - Black Tide Rising 5
Lily and the Octopus (h2tp) Steven Rowley LF
Extinction Horizon Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/AP/PA - The Extinction Cycle 1
The High Ground (tp2mm) Melinda Snodgrass SF - Imperials Saga 1
Dark Moon Rising (ri) James M. Thompson H
Fallout: The Hot War (h2mm) Harry Turtledove AH/SF - The Hot War 2
Spectacle Rachel Vincent LF/CF - The Menagerie Series 2
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn Chris Vola H/SupTh
Hearts and Minds Dayton Ward SF - Star Trek: The Next Generation
Escapology (tp2mm) Ren Warom SF/CyP
Invasive (h2mm) Chuck Wendig TechTh



May 31, 2017
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Beyond the Gates of Antares: Open Signal Brandon Rospond (Ed) SF - Beyond Antares
The Dispatcher John Scalzi SF



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CB - Coloring Book
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CM - Cozy Mystery
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CyP - Cyberpunk
CW - Contemporary Women
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HistTh - Historical Thriller
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisMeta - Visionary and Metaphysical

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - May 28, 2017




Happy bank holiday to me! This is the second bank holiday of May here in the UK and despite rain this morning today was gloriously sunny and warm. I managed not to get too burned while I was watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on my iPad outside. Sorry! I wasn't reading and this is part of the reason why I only have 1 book to tell you about this week *gasp*. I am not sure why I only managed to read only 1 book but I have completed a thorough search of all my e-Reader apps and nothing else is popping out saying 'review me, review me!'. So here you go.


Around the time I was having my love affair with the Clovenhoof series I was offered an advance copy of Disenchanted by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. I loved each and every Clovenhoof book I read and I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity (directly from the author) to read a new book from the hilarious writing duo of Goody and Grant.

Ella Hannaford thought she was leading a fairly normal life, had a good job, lived with her Dad and about to suffer the indignity of going to her future mother in law's hen party. Life seemed pretty normal until 7 foul mouthed dwarfs kidnap her from the hen party and drag her to an alternative fairy tale reality. The big bad wolf is the least of Ella's worries when she discovers that her very own fairy godmother is willing to do anything to give her a happily ever after!

I loved every page of every book of the Clovenhoof series and there was lots of lolling and rolfing on public transport. I was expecting to do something similar with Disenchanted but unfortunately, I am one of the very few who didn't find it that funny. I really wanted to find it funny and while I found bits and pieces a bit of a laugh, overall I only found it mildly amusing. I did however, find the concept unique and the authors are very creative. The pace of the story is perfect and I never knew what was going to happen next. If you are looking forward to a light-hearted story, don't mind quite a bit of swearing and like a good fairy tale then give it a read but if you are a big fan and expecting another Clovenhoof then this is your warning that it isn't as funny as that series.


That is it for me this week. Sorry it is so short. You won't hear from me next week (and maybe the week after) as I am off on holiday so see you in a couple of weeks. Happy Reading!





Disenchanted
Pigeon Park Press, February 12, 2017
     Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Pigeon Park Press, May 5, 2017
     Kindle eBook

Ella Hannaford has a small business to run, an overworked father to look after and a future stepmother who wants a perfect wedding.

Can she avoid a girly night out with her clueless stepsister? Can she side-step lovesick suitors at every turn? Not if it’s up to that team of foul-mouthed dwarfs who want to forcibly drag her into her happily ever after.

Gingerbread cottages, dodgy European gangsters, gun-toting grannies, wisecracking wolves, stubborn fairy godmothers, ogres, beanstalks and flying carpets abound in a tale about what happens when you refuse to accept your Happy Ending.

Wonder Woman Feature Film Soundtrack Coming June 2nd


Wonder Woman Feature Film Soundtrack Details Announced

Includes New End Title Song “To Be Human” Performed by Sia Feat. Labrinth

Features Original Score by Composer Rupert Gregson-Williams


LOS ANGELES--May 26, 2017 (BUSINESS WIRE)--WaterTower Music today announced the release details of the Wonder Woman soundtrack, which features an original score by composer Rupert Gregson-Williams and the new end title track “To Be Human” by Sia Feat. Labrinth. The soundtrack to this epic action adventure film from director Patty Jenkins will be released both digitally and on CD on the same date that the film is in theatres, June 2.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Interview with Weston Ochse


Please welcome Weston Ochse to The Qwillery. Grunt Hero, the 3rd and final Task Force Ombra Novel, was published on April 25th by Solaris.







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

Weston:  Hi, Sally. I began writing when I turned 30. Scratch that. I actually began writing when I was 8, but that story was pulled from circulation by the school and I didn’t write for another 22 years.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Weston:  I’m a hybrid. I plot enough,t hen I pants it. I love it when a character surprises me. When they do, I know I have something special. I’m not sure that if I was a pure plotter if that would happen.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Weston:  Facebook.



TQDescribe Grunt Hero in 140 characters or less.

Weston:  Humanity fought the war and lost. Aliens now have the run of our Earth. When all hope is gone, all that’s left is to seek revenge.



TQGrunt Hero is the conclusion to your Task Force Ombra series. What are your feelings on wrapping up the series?

Weston:  I’d call this a trilogy, not a series. When I wrote the SEAL Team 666 books, I thought I was writing a trilogy, but it ended up being a series. What’s the difference? A trilogy is an enclosed literary environment where something special happens. A series is books that follow one after the other that don’t necessarily have a relation to the others except for characters and setting. Like the James Bond books. That was a series. I took what I learned about failing to write a trilogy with the SEAL Team 666 books and impressed them into the writing of the Grunt Trilogy. What are my feelings, you ask? I’m happy that I actually created a solid trilogy. I am sort of saddened to let Ben Mason go, though. He was a hell of a grunt.



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

Weston:  It has walruses.



TQWhat inspired you to write the Task Force Ombra series? What appeals to you about writing Military SF?

Weston:  I’ve spent 35 years in the military. They say write what you know. I’ve written thirty books and six out of the last seven books I wrote were military fiction. It’s appealing to my sensibilities right now to write military sf. I think there’s some really terrific writing out there, but not a lot by people who have been street level with a terrorist. There are feelings one has when they are in harm’s way that no amount of research can get you. In fact, I wrote Grunt Life while I was in Afghanistan and brought into it some of the feelings of mortality I was having then.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Grunt Hero and the series?

Weston:  I did a lot of research so I could get the Gun Porn right. Then there was science. I had a science guy who kept me straight. I’d ask him if I could do something, then when he’d stop laughing, he’d tell me what I could really do. I wanted the science behind everything to be as real as possible.



TQIn the Task Force Ombra series who was the easiest character to write and why? Which character surprised you?

Weston:  Ben Mason was the easiest to write for me, because he was essentially me. I included many biographical elements into that character. Michelle became the hardest to write, mainly because of what I did to her.



TQWhat's next?

Weston:  I wrote and turned in Burning Sky for Solaris, which is a military horror novel set in Afghanistan. I’m working on the sequel to that, Dead Sky and I’m also working on a few other books. I had a big short story year this last year. I worked on the franchises of Hellboy, X-Files, Joe Ledger, Aliens and Predator. The Hellboy and Predator stories have yet to be published. This fall I’m working with DC Comics on a project. I’m super stoked about that.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Weston:  No. Thank you!





Grunt Hero
A Task Force Ombra Novel 3
Solaris, April 25, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

It is a time for heroes, for killers, for Grunts.

In this thrilling conclusion to the breakout military SF series, we find Earth plagued with millions of miles of terraformed cities, black vines crushing concrete, revealing iron and steel. Those unable to escape the vines are empty vessels waiting to be filled, living storage for alien algorythmic thought. What else can happen? What more can be done? This has always been a time for for heroes, for Killers, for Grunts, but are they enough?

Benjamin Carter Mason will be asked to return to OMBRA to help them find these answers, and what he finds will send him over the edge. In the end, his efforts won't be about survival, they'll be about revenge, and his revenge will be served in a blaze.





Previously

Grunt Life
A Task Force Ombra Novel 1
Solaris, April 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

This is a brand new Military SF series from Weston Ochse, an experienced military man and author.

Benjamin Carter Mason died last night. Maybe he threw himself off a bridge into Los Angeles Harbor, or maybe he burned to death in a house fire in San Pedro; it doesn’t really matter. Today, Mason’s starting a new life. He’s back in boot camp, training for the only war left that matters a damn.

For years, their spies have been coming to Earth, mapping our cities, learning our weaknesses, leaving tragedy in their wake. Our governments knew, but they did nothing—the prospect was too awful, the costs too high—and now, the horrifying and utterly alien Cray are invading, laying waste to our cities. The human race is a heartbeat away from extinction.

That is, unless Mason, and the other men and women of Task Force OMBRA, can do anything about it.

This is a time for heroes. For killers. For Grunts



Grunt Traitor
A Task Force Ombra Novel 2
Solaris, July 28, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

The breakout military SF series continues!

Their spies were among us for years. They mapped our electrical infrastructure, learned our weaknesses, until finally they flipped the switch and threw us back into the Dark Ages.

Only OMBRA and its battalions around the world seem capable of defending Earth from the next wave of attack—terraforming. But at what price can we gain our freedom from these yet to be identified aliens? They're pushing the human race to the edge of extinction if we can't find a way to change things. But what will we have to change? What will we humans become to survive this threat. This is a time for heroes. For killers. For Grunts.

Benjamin Carter Mason will be asked this question over and over as he dives deep into the nasty heart of an alien transformed Los Angeles. And in the end, he might be the last person on Earth defending not just our lives, but our humanity. 





About Weston

Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, border crossers, narco-bad guys, and human smuggling punks. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war.

Follow Wes on Twitter, and for more information visit the official Weston Ochse website.

FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE - Gambit System



FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE’S GAMBIT SYSTEM BOILED DOWN IN NEW TRAILER

LOS ANGELES (May 26, 2017) – SQUARE ENIX® released a new FINAL FANTASY® XII THE ZODIAC AGE™ trailer that focuses on the Gambit System, the ground-breaking combat system which utilizes customizable AI “gambits” to let players to adapt to any situation during battle. Players can also freely develop their characters and tactics with the all-new Zodiac Job System, which allows each character to battle as two of 12 unique and beloved jobs.

The Gambit System Trailer


SPAWN DIRECTOR’S CUT Rushed Back to Print - FOIL ENCORE EDITION



SPAWN DIRECTOR’S CUT A HIT, RUSHED BACK TO PRINT FOR FOIL ENCORE EDITION

TEMPE, AZ, 05/26/2017 — Image Comics is pleased to announce that the special SPAWN #1: DIRECTOR’S CUT EDITION by comics legend and Image Comics President, Todd McFarlane, is being fast-tracked for a special reprint.

The cover C by McFarlane will receive a foil treatment and will be rushed back to print for SPAWN #1 25TH ANNIVERSARY DIRECTOR’S CUT FOIL ENCORE EDITION in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand.

The DIRECTOR’S CUT includes the original artboards of SPAWN #1, commentary from McFarlane himself on each page, and bonus, never-before-seen art.

SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER - Nude "Beariant" Cover



SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER PULLS NO PUNCHES WITH NUDE “BEARIANT” COVER 

PORTLAND, OR, 05/26/2017 — From writers Jody LeHeup (former editor of Uncanny X-Force, Deadpool, Quantum and Woody) and Sebastian Girner (editor of SOUTHERN BASTARDS, DEADLY CLASS, BLACK SCIENCE), newcomer artist Nil Vendrell, colorist Mike Spicer (HEAD LOPPER, MYTHIC), and letterer Dave Lanphear comes a modern tall tale for the ages. Image Comics is pleased to reveal a limited SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER #1 Nude variant (or shall we say, “beariant”?) cover.

After being betrayed by the bears that raised him, the legendary SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER wanders the forest he’s sworn to protect, fist-fighting bears, eating flapjacks, and being the angriest man the world has ever known! When wild-eyed, super-strong bears attack the citizens of Major City, Shirtless ventures into the human world to do what he does best… PUNCH THOSE BEARS IN THE FACE! But all is not as it seems. Someone is manipulating Shirtless… and only by confronting the demons of his past can Shirtless hope to save his future!

GRRL SCOUTS: MAGIC SOCKS Getting 2nd Printing



GRRL SCOUTS: MAGIC SOCKS
AN ACTION-PACKED HIT

PORTLAND, OR, 05/26/2017 — Jim Mahfood (Tank Girl, Clerks) hits big with his glorious return to the beloved GRRL SCOUTS in MAGIC SOCKS. In order to keep up with the increased demand, Image Comics is pleased to announce that GRRL SCOUTS: MAGIC SOCKS #1 will be fast-tracked to a second printing.

In GRRL SCOUTS: MAGIC SOCKS, readers meet up with Gwen, Daphne, and Rita as they reunite for a pulse-pounding psychedelic adventure through the streets of Freak City. This first issue is stuffed to the gills with an action-packed story, bonus art, soundtrack, sketchbook, and behind-the-scenes bonus content.

REDNECK Burns Through Inventory



CATES & ESTHERREN'S REDNECK BURNS THROUGH INVENTORY

PORTLAND, OR, 05/25/2017 — The bestselling Image/Skybound series REDNECK by Donny Cates (GOD COUNTRY) and Lisandro Estherren is being rushed back to print in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand.

In REDNECK, readers are introduced to The Bowmans—a family of vampires who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow's blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface—making it impossible to separate man from monster.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Interview with G.S. Denning, author of the Warlock Holmes Novels


Please welcome G.S. Denning back to The Qwillery. The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles (Warlock Holmes 2) was published on May 16th by Titan Books.







TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles (Warlock Holmes 2), was published on May 16th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote A Study in Brimstone (2016) to The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles?

G.S.:  Well, I’m still stealing time at nights and weekends. Still running off to friendly restaurants who will bring me diet cokes for 3 hours while I write and write. The biggest change is that I have the fan feedback from book 1. Now I can hear what my readers value about the series and include more of that. For example, I had no idea how much people would like Grogsson and Lestrade. I had to sneak a whole Grogsson-centric story into Hell-hound when I realized how much people wanted him and how little I had. (Oh, that’s The Adventure of the Solitary Tricyclist, by the way.)



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when A Study in Brimstone came out that you know now?

G.S.:  The podcast “Writing Excuses” taught me a lot. Traditional publishing is slow. Be ready, fellow authors. Nothing happens quickly except deadlines.

Yet, I’ve learned to be exceedingly grateful that I went the traditional publishing route. I can go see my books, in book-stores and I didn’t have to drive them there and brow-beat the proprietors into carrying them. There’s an audiobook version and I didn’t have to call all the audio companies and beg. As much as people complain about how slow traditional publishing is and how small the per-book percentage that goes to the author, I know perfectly well that I could never, never, never have gotten Warlock this far on my own. Thanks to the whole team!



TQTell us something about The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles that is not found in the book description.

G.S.:  Part of it was a writing challenge to myself: write an origin story where the reader doesn’t realize they’re reading one. The book hasn’t been out long enough for me to find out if I’m really blindsiding people or they’re seeing through me. Time will tell.



TQWhich character in the Warlock Holmes series (so far) surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

G.S.:  John Watson surprised me most. As I conceived this series, it was centered around the arcane wellspring that was Holmes. In a way, it still is. Yet every adventure is narrated by John. He filters all the wonder through this veneer of normalcy. He’s the everyman character—he’s an extension of how the reader would feel if they were thrust into a world of monsters. I’m surprised by how much of this story has become about John and what he thinks and feels as the story swirls on.

As far as the hardest: the women. Most geek-readers, most Holmes fans and the bulk of my fan-base are women. But the original stories are from another age. Women are rarely important in the original stories—victims seeking protection, for the most part. Of course, there’s Irene Adler, who bests Holmes, but she is in only one of the 60 stories. I’m trying to build female characters we can relate to and root for. Read the descriptions of Violet Smith in book 2 and Violet Hunter in book 3 and you’ll see how much I’m trying to build in cos-play opportunity and (especially in Hunter’s case) fan-fic launch points.



TQWhat do you think is the ongoing appeal of stories. etc. based on Sherlock Holmes?

G.S.:  Oh man, there’s a bunch. We love the odd-couple friendship of Holmes and Watson—how this super-powered individual needs a tie to normalcy (and that’s true of Warlock and Sherlock in equal measure). We love the pace of the stories and the chance to guess along and match our wits against the greatest detective. We love the language and the exotic-yet-familiar feel of Victorian London. We love the cloying promise that adventure and wonder hide in this everyday doldrum we inhabit. Some of us just like John’s moustache. As much as people can talk about how dated and out-of-touch the stories are, there’s a reason these things have stayed in print in over 150 countries and 125 years.



TQSherlock Holmes has appeared in 60 stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. How do you pick which stories to use?

G.S.:  The horrifying-yet-wonderful thing is: if these books keep doing as well as they are now, I’ll eventually have to use all 60. I’m pacing myself so I don’t use all 4 novels too early (right now, book 3 hasn’t got one). I’ve been trying to start strong by using recognizable favorites like Study in Scarlet, Hound of the Baskervilles and Speckled Band. I chose Baskervilles as the second story I ever wrote, because –duh- there’s a hell-hound in it. There was really no challenge introducing a supernatural element in to that particular story. Then again, I’m saving The Sussex Vampire, for the same reason.

The real hard part is creating an overall arch for the stories—the tale of how Moriarty came back to power from near-ruin and tricked Holmes and Watson into destroying the world. Readers have been very patient with me in book 1 and 2, where the Moriarty element is more in the background. Spoiler-alert: he comes to the fore in book 3.



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles.

G.S.:

“No murder! Bad Horse! If you make a habit of it, I shall be cross with you!” –Warlock Holmes to Silver Blaze.

“In a proof that small words can have great import, I am holding a copy of Two Gentlemen In Verona. By this author’s interpretation, Verona is a down-on-her luck servant girl who finds herself sandwiched—quite literally—between the affections of a country squire and a poor groom.” –John Watson presenting an inappropriate gift to Mrs. Hudson.

“Aaaaaaaaaaiiieeah! Tears and wreck and wrack and ruin! The black one has returned! Prince of tatters! Prince of ash!” –Fasoul the Turk to… well… actually not Moriarty, but the person standing beside him.

“You cannot assume an animal’s behavior, based entirely on its breed.” –Warlock Holmes’s questionable advice on pre-judging hell-hounds.



TQWhat's next?

G.S.:  Book 3—My Grave Ritual—is underway and will be released May 15, 2018. It features the return of Moriarty to Holmes and Watson’s world and the growing sense that if Watson keeps meddling in the world of monsters and gods, he’s certain to die. There’s *ahem* a bit more romance, as well.

I’m realizing it would take between 8 and 9 books to finish the entire Holmes canon and I’m planning out my long-game. The Chekhov’s guns for both Holmes and Moriarty are already in place, but there’s a lot of maneuvering to be done before the final confrontation.

We’ve had two nibbles already for adapting Warlock to the big-or-small screen. Nothing really in the works yet, but I’d love to see my Holmes and Watson take their place amongst the other filmed adaptations and I’m doing my best to keep the writing screen-friendly.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

G.S.:  Are you kidding? Thanks for having me back. All authors ever want to do is drone on and on about their work and you’ve provided us with exactly that chance. You’re like super-heroes and therapists, all rolled into one.





The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles
Warlock Holmes 2
Titan Books, May 16, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

The game’s afoot once more as Holmes and Watson face off against Moriarty’s gang, the Pinkertons, flesh-eating horses, a parliament of imps, boredom, Surrey, a disappointing butler demon, a succubus, a wicked lord, an overly-Canadian lord, a tricycle-fight to the death and the dreaded Pumpcrow. Oh, and a hell hound, one assumes.



Previously

A Study in Brimstone
Warlock Holmes 1
Titan Books, May 17, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius. Warlock Holmes is an idiot. A font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart companion. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.





About G.S. Denning

G.S. Denning is an author, improv comic, and speaker. ​

Before publishing Warlock Holmes, G.S. performed improv comedy for 20 years with Seattle Theatersports and Jet City Improv in Seattle, and SAC Comedy in Florida. He was a writer/performer for live shows at Disney's Epcot Center, wrote comedic reviews for Wizards of the Coast, and worked as a translation editor for Nintendo, ensuring that humor/context translated appropriately from Japanese to English video game scripts.

G.S. is extremely knowledgeable about history and all things pertaining to the geekiverse. He now gives engaging and educational talks to schools, inspiring students to turn their love of comic books and video games into a creative career or enriching hobby. He speaks at conventions, teaching writers improv comedy techiques that will improve their storytelling. He loves chatting on podcasts and is a terribly friendly geek. He has The Best Wife and The Most Beautiful Children and lives in Las Vegas.

Website  ~  Twitter @GS_Denning  ~  Facebook