I apologize for the lack of activity around here the last week or so. I’m on a work trip and for some reason I have a hard time writing when I’m not in my own work space. And even worse, I have a hard time laying out blog posts. Who knows? In any case, here are the rest of the winners for Debut Authorpalooza. I want to thank the authors again for their awesome posts, and more importantly, their awesome novels. Thanks also to everyone who participated!
Here are the winners:
Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock
Mieneke van der Salm, Netherlands
The Emperor’s Knife by Mazarkis Williams
Mia C., Elmhurst, New York
Ken F., Flagstaff, Arizona
The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh
by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Sandino S., Bulgaria
The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle
Doug S., Chandler, Arizona
Elias C., Spain
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Sharon R., Davenport, Iowa
I’m sure Sharon is wondering what she’s won exactly.
… Read the rest
Debut Authorpalooza was a two week event celebrating some of my favorite debuts from the last eighteen months. I posted guest posts from all the authors about their experience writing their second books and included an excerpt from their work in progress. All the authors chipped in books to giveaway, including a massive grand prize giveaway. Thanks to the god of random draw, one gentleman won twice. Since I didn’t prohibit it in the rules… well… lucky guy!
Here are the winners from the first week of authors!
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Brandon Z., Williamsport, PA
Ally R., Australia
God’s War and Infidel by Kameron Hurley
Mark S., Bloomington, Indiana
Paul W., Roseville, Minnesota
Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper
Brandon Z., Williamsport, PA
Elton P., Canton, Georgia
The Whitefire Crossing and The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer
Chris H., Apple Valley, Minnesota
Mikael S., Sweden
Rebekah K., Morrisville, North Carolina
Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht
Scott C., Canada
Josh M., Perry, Utah
Check back tomorrow for the second half of the winners!… Read the rest
For the last fourteen days this blog has been turned over to ten of the best debut authors 2011 (and one 2012) had to offer. I was honored to have them here, not only because I didn’t have to write a post myself for two weeks, but because I believe supporting debut writers is the only sure pathway to continued growth in the field. Promoting and buying debut authors is how readers signal to publishers that they should continue to take risks on the unknown. I hope this event has been productive in that regard.
It’s also been an enlightening experience. Too often, as a reader, it’s easy to forget the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the creating works that are often devoured in a few days time. When a novel’s done, it flows so effortlessly it becomes hard to imagine it any other way. I think Douglas Hulick’s post illustrated that even authors fall into the trap of believing that’s how it should always be.… Read the rest
Bringing up the rear, is Douglas Hulick, author of one of the most exciting novels of 2011, Among Thieves. I bought the novel electronically. After reading it, I was stunned to learn that it was limited to a mass market paperback. Similar to 2012 debut author Myke Cole’s Control Point (also an Ace/Roc mass market paperback), Among Thieves became a success due almost entirely to word of mouth as opposed to the big-six marketing machine.
Hulick’s novel adds a new chapter to the thief subgenre and it stands out as the best thing to happen to it since Scott Lynch’s masterpiece, The Lies of Locke Lamora. It’s also unique in the characterization of Drothe, Hulick’s protagonist and narrator. Namely, he’s not special. The result is a character that the reader can identify with in a personal way even while he accomplishes things way outside the purview of his natural ability.
… Read the rest
THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS
by Anne Lyle
Mal leant over the ship’s rail, scanning the shore for any sign of a wreck. The mistral had swept the sky bare, leaving the coast etched in hard lines by the cold clear light of a January morn.
“There,” he said at last, pointing to a dark shape on the beach.
Coby joined him at the rail. “Are you sure it’s the skrayling carrack, sir? Those timbers could belong to any ship.”
“You still don’t believe me.”
“I—‘ Her head drooped, expression hidden by the hood of her cloak. “It’s been more than a year, sir. I thought…I thought all that was over.”
It’ll never be over, he wanted to tell her. Not whilst I have this thing inside me.
The ship tacked westwards, closer to the white sands. A rocky headland loomed to their left, the prevailing winds threatening to dash them onto its rocks as it had the ship they sought.… Read the rest
As far as covers go, there’s one style that’s nearly guaranteed to do well in the fantasy world and Anne Lyle’s debut novel, The Alchemist of Souls, nailed it. Intensely character driven, with a hint of action and a dash of mystery, it sent all the right signals to readers. Even better, Lyle completely delivered on that promise with an excellently paced historical fantasy full of plot twists.
With a cross-dressing female, several gay men, and a Catholic, Lyle’s characters are all poorly suited to surviving life in Elizabethan England. Lyle does an incredible job of merging these progressive characters with the setting, never making them feel anachronistic (can people be anachronistic?). They’re also just a ton of fun to read about too, making Alchemist of Souls my favorite Angry Robot novel since Zoo City.
All the way from the Cambridge, Anne Lyle…
In spring 2011 I signed a contract with Angry Robot for a historical fantasy trilogy, having submitted a finished manuscript of one book, The Alchemist of Souls, and the synopsis for a second.
… Read the rest
THE STRAITS OF GALAHESH
By Bradley P. Beaulieu
The akhoz galloped more than ran, their long limbs loping over the ground faster than it appeared they could. Their lips were drawn back, their dark tongues hidden behind blackened teeth, making them appear vengeful and ravenous.
Nasim’s sandals scraped over the ancient stone. His nerves willed him to flee. But he would not. This girl, this very girl, was the first of the akhoz. There was little that remained of Yadhan, but he recognized her by the shape and tilt of her head, her delicate features, and the small scar at the nape of her neck.
And he’d also felt in his memories that a connection had been made to each of the akhoz that Khamal had created. In the nights that followed, Khamal had gone on to perform the ritual again and again, sacrificing more and more children to the grisly fate that awaited them.… Read the rest
I tried to read Winds of Khalakovo three times before it finally hooked me. I figure that was for two reasons. One, I tried reading the trade paperback first, and that damn thing was more akin to Clue murder weapon than novel. Being a big “in bed” reader, it wasn’t easy to hold up. Once I made the switch to the electronic version, I was able to really tuck into it. Second, Beaulieu doesn’t take a lot of time to ease the reader into things, jumping quickly into the main narrative.
All that goes to say that Winds takes some investment, both of time and mental capacity. It’s an investment well worth making. In my review I called it the merging of Russian literary tradition with the epic fantasy, making it unique in a field often characterized by its sameness.
Coasting in on a airship of his own making, Bradley P.
… Read the rest
By Mazarkis Williams
Thrashing churned the water, white foam, tinged brown with river mud. Grada knelt on a broad stone bedded in the shoreline, her arms elbow deep, wringing as she had wrung out the robes of the wealthy many times before.
Muscles bunched across her shoulders. Jenna had always said she was strong. Ox-strong, head-strong.
Further out the river slid past, green-brown, placid. Somewhere a widderil called out its three-note song with all its heart.
They had come from the thickness of the pomegranate grove, two of them sticky with sweat, laying down their pruning hooks as they saw her. Both of them old enough for wives, young enough for wickedness, stripped to loincloth and sandals, white-orange blossom from the second crop clinging to their chests and arms. The men had angled Grada’s way as she walked in the shade at the margins, where trees gave way to the river road.… Read the rest