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I’m joined in this episode by Eli Brown, author of ODDITY. This historical fantasy for young readers shows us an alternate 1800s North America where the Louisiana Purchase failed. With the land divided, the return of war between the States and France looms large, and the woods are patrolled by soldiers and terrifying animal constructs. The young Clover Elkin flees across these borderlands, away from evil men who killed her father, and searching for answers—about her family’s mysterious past, and the single, necessary thing her father swore her to protect. Because this is a world of Oddities — mundane objects possessed of strange and miraculous powers. Accompanied by a talking rooster, a teenage charlatan, a super-strong rag doll, and a venomous viper, Clover must learn the truth of her Oddity, or become a pawn in a war for a nation’s history. ODDITY is a middle grade fantasy tale of wit, wonder, and danger, available now from Walker Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Eli Brown As a child, Eli Brown’s imagination was set ablaze by the mythologies of the world. He was particularly interested in magical objects, such as Odysseus’s bag of wind, Arjuna’s Bow, Bilbo’s ring, and Jack’s beans. Brown’s culinary pirate novel, CINNAMON AND GUNPOWDER, was a finalist for the California Book Award, a San Francisco Public Library One-City One-Book selection, and an NPR Book Review Staff Pick. Brown’s first novel, THE GREAT DAYS (Boaz Publications), won the Fabri Prize for Literature. Publishers Weekly called it “…a harrowing, convincing look into the heart of cult life that should linger with readers.” A Yaddo fellow and featured reader at Litquake, Brown earned his MFA from Mills college. He lives with his family in Northern California where the squirrels bury acorns in his garden and cats bury worse. Follow Eli Brown Website Twitter Amazon Profile » Goodreads About ODDITY The daughter of a murdered physician vows to protect the magical Oddity he left behind in an alternate nineteenth century where a failed Louisiana Purchase has locked a young Unified States into conflict with France. It’s the early 1800s, and Clover travels the impoverished borderlands of the Unified States with her father, a physician. See to the body before you, he teaches her, but Clover can’t help becoming distracted by bigger things, including the coming war between the US and France, ignited by a failed Louisiana Purchase, and the terrifying vermin, cobbled together from dead animals and spare parts, who patrol the woods. Most of all, she is consumed with interest for Oddities, ordinary objects with extraordinary abilities, such as a Teapot that makes endless amounts of tea and an Ice Hook that freezes everything it touches. Clover’s father has always disapproved of Oddities, but when he is murdered, Clover embarks on a perilous mission to protect the one secret Oddity he left behind. And as she uncovers the truth about her parents and her past, Clover emerges as a powerful agent of history.
I’m joined in this episode by Neal Shusterman, author of GAME CHANGER. This young adult sci-fi novel follows Ash, a pretty average middle class kid with few ambitions beyond winning football games and hanging out with his friends. That all changes when a hard hit on the football field alters Ash’s world, but in a way only he seems to notice. Suddenly all the stop signs are blue and, to his rising anxiety, nobody thinks that’s weird or even remembers them being red. Another game, another impact and Ash’s world shifts more dramatically. Now he drives a fancy car, his parents have money, his difficult brother has a good relationship with him. But in this new version of his world, he’s also made some terrible and dangerous choices—ones that affect this friends, his community, and his safety. With each dimensional transition, Ash sees his life and perspectives alter more radically. In every world that is almost, but not quite, his own, he is challenged by his shortcomings, and the ways he has let down those he loves most. Ash will need to harness his dimension-hopping ability swiftly, or risk letting his true life vanish entirely from existence. GAME CHANGER is introspective and propulsive YA sci-fi, published by Quill Tree Books and available now: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Neal Shusterman Neal Shusterman is the New York Times best-selling author of over thirty novels for children, teens, and adults. He won the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for Challenger Deep-and his novel, Scythe, was a 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor book—and is in development with Universal Studios as a feature film. His novel, Unwind, has become part of the literary canon in many school districts across the country-and has won more than thirty domestic and international awards. He co-wrote his most recent novel, Dry, with his son Jarrod, and in addition to being on numerous award lists, Dry is currently in development with Paramount Pictures. His upcoming novel, Game Changer, is in development with Netflix as a TV series, and he is co-writing the pilot episode. Follow Neal Shusterman Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About GAME CHANGER All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it. Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own. The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes. And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence… This high-concept novel from the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Arc of a Scythe series tackles the most urgent themes of our time, making this a must-buy for readers who are starting to ask big questions about their own role in the universe.
In this episode, I’m joined by Sarah Beth Durst, author of THE BONE MAKER. In this standalone Fantasy novel, a team of renowned heroes are reunited after 25 years to avenge a painful loss and once again face a dangerous force of dark magic. But the decades between a great victory and their reunion have not been kind—to their minds, bodies, and friendships. And some of them are willing to break the most sacred laws of their land to restore what they love most. THE BONE MAKER is available now from Harper Voyager: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Sarah Beth Durst Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty-two fantasy books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Queens of Renthia series, Drink Slay Love, and Spark. Her last book, Race the Sands, was named an Amazon Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of the Year, one of Buzzfeed’s Must-Read Fantasy Books for April 2020, was included in Kirkus Reviews’ Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Reads for April 2020, and so much more. She has won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Nebula Award three times. Sarah is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. Follow Sarah Beth Durst Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE BONE MAKER From award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst, a standalone epic fantasy set in a brand-new world of towering mountains and sparkling cities, in which a band of aging warriors have a second chance to defeat dark magic and avenge a haunting loss. Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less. She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives. But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all. Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”
I’m joined in this episode by C.L. Clark, author of THE UNBROKEN,  a brutal and complex military fantasy novel that follows a colonial soldier returned to the homeland she was stolen from, and a princess in search of a turncoat to help throw her uncle off the throne. The first book in the MAGIC OF THE LOST series, THE UNBROKEN arrives March 23rd from Orbit Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About C.L. Clark C.L. Clark graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, FIYAH, PodCastle and Uncanny. Follow C.L. Clark Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE UNBROKEN In an epic fantasy unlike any other, two women clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire. Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.
In this episode, I’m joined by T. Frohock, author of the LOS NEFILIM series. This historical dark fantasy series—set first in 1930s Europe—started with the novellas IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE, WITHOUT LIGHT OR GUIDE, and THE SECOND DEATH. All of which have been collected into the LOS NEFILIM OMNIBUS. The series continues with the full length novels WHERE OBLIVION LIVES and CARVED FROM STONE AND DREAM. The saga concludes in the World War 2 era with A SONG WITH TEETH, which is out now from Harper Voyager: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound Other Los Nefilim Books: IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE (novella) » WITHOUT LIGHT OR GUIDE (novella) » THE SECOND DEATH (novella) » LOS NEFILIM OMNIBUS (all novellas collected) » WHERE OBLIVION LIVES » CARVED FROM STONE AND DREAM » » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About T. Frohock T. Frohock has turned a love of history and dark fantasy into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. A real-life cyborg, T. has a cochlear implant, meaning she can turn you on or off with the flick of a switch. Make of that what you will. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Follow T. Frohock Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads ABOUT THE LOS NEFILIM SERIES Welcome to the world of Los Nefilim—Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. This is a series of stand-alone novellas and novels, meaning you can read them in any order, kind of like the old pulp novels of the 1930s. Bred for war by the angels and the daimons, the Nephilim use the power of their voices as the basis of their magic. Many of the Nephilim belong to the Inner Guard and operate as a central intelligence agency for the angels, monitoring daimonic activity and working to curtail it. The Spanish division of the Inner Guard is Los Nefilim. Los Nefilim’s hero, is Diago Alvarez. Born of daimon and angel, Diago is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has been charged with locating The Key: a special chord that will enable the nefilim to manipulate the realms as the angels do. With that secret chord, the nefilim hope to reshape the mortal realm to protect the mortals from future angelic wars.
I’m joined in this episode by Claire Holroyde, author of THE EFFORT. In this spec-fic / sci-fi novel, the Earth is threatened by an extinction level event when an 8 kilometer “dark” comet emerges from behind the sun on a rapid collision course with our planet. Immediately after discovery of the comet, an international coalition of scientists is assembled and nicknamed The Effort. Under the leadership of NASA’s Dr. Benjamin Schwartz—a specialist who has spent years modeling impact scenarios—The Effort are tasked with nothing less than assuring the survival of humanity. But their mission, which would require years of preparation under any reasonable circumstances, has only months before the insane velocity of the comet brings it within range. At Ben’s side are the most powerful minds in space travel and nuclear science, supported by his tech recruiter girlfriend Amy Kowalski, the brilliant poly-lingual Kenyan interpreter Love Mwangi, and the might of the United Nations. Against them are political power structures unwilling to commit resources, global chaos erupting as the world population faces the reality of extinction, and the ticking countdown of precious time slipping away. Near the north pole, a Coast Guard ship full of climate scientists investigates the withering ice and dying animal life. Cut off from land and family, photojournalist Jack and marine biologist Maya stoke the flickering sparks of romance amid a suffocating, existential despair. And in New York City, Love’s girlfriend Rivka struggles to survive in a city falling to violence and starvation. THE EFFORT is apocalyptic fiction focused on truly human stories, how we survive together or die divided, protecting the disappearing beauty of our fragile world, or succumbing to annihilation. It’s available now from Grand Central Publishing: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Claire Holroyde Claire Holroyde is a writer, graphic designer, and storyteller living in the Philadelphia metro area. Follow Claire Holroyde Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads About THE EFFORT For readers of Station Eleven and Good Morning, Midnight comes an electric, heart-pounding novel of love and sacrifice that follows people around the world as they unite to prevent a global catastrophe. When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billiontimes the energy of an atomic bomb. What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur? Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time. Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself. Their mission is codenamed The Effort.
I’m joined in this episode by Eugen Bacon, author of THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP: AND OTHER STORIES. This collection of speculative short fiction features over 20 tales that blur the line between reality and mythology, full of humans possessed of unusual gifts, immortals shackled with ageless curses, children born of dangerous secrets, and lovers whose tangled passions spiral to dream and dread. In “A Nursery Rhyme”, a mother must face a tragedy in her household, born of a darkness and grief she was never allowed to feel. In “A Maji Maji Chronicle”, a wizard from the future visits the Africa of the past to teach his son the most important lessons of magic—and inadvertently alters the pattern of history. In “A Case of Seeing”, a detective must use her paranormal ability to solve a murder mystery, while confronting difficult truths revealed by her gift. In “Being Marcus”, a  physical trainer ruminates on his origins in Ancient Rome, and how a legendary betrayal confined him to an everlasting cycle of longing and loneliness. With lyrical prose and lushly evocative atmospheres, these stories explore grief and healing, love and infidelity, and challenge how we envision our role in relationships and our own futures. THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP weaves magical realism, horror, science fiction, and many shades in between. It’s available now from Meerkat Press: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Eugen Bacon Eugen M. Bacon, MA, MSc, PhD, is African Australian. A computer graduate mentally re-engineered into creative writing, she studied at Maritime Campus, less than two minutes’ walk from The Royal Observatory of the Greenwich Meridian. Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans. Out now: Writing Speculative Fiction, Red Globe Press (Macmillan). Claiming T-Mo, Meerkat Press. In 2020: Her Bitch Dress, Ginninderra Press. It’s Folking Political, Ginninderra Press. The Road to Woop Woop & Other Stories, Meerkat Press. Hadithi, Luna Press Publishing. Ivory’s Story, Newcon Press. In 2021: Speculate, Meerkat Press. Black Moon, IFWG. Follow Eugen Bacon Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP: AND OTHER STORIES Eugen Bacon’s work is deemed cheeky with a fierce intelligence in text that’s resplendent, delicious, dark and evocative. NPR called her novel Claiming T-Mo ‘a confounding mysterious tour de force’. The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories imbues the same lushness in a writerly language that is Bacon’s own. This peculiar hybrid of the untraditional, the extraordinary within, without and along the borders of normalcy will hypnotize and absorb the reader with tales that refuse to be labelled. The stories in this collection are dirges that cross genres in astounding ways. Over 20 provocative tales, with seven original to this collection, by an award-winning African Australian author.
In this episode, I’m joined by Nicky Drayden, author of ESCAPING EXODUS, and its new sequel, SYMBIOSIS. This sci-fi duology explores a human civilization built entirely inside colossal, space-faring beasts. The impetuous young Seska Kayleigh is a child of privilege and heir to the matriarchal throne of her people. As their recently relocated colony carves out a new city from the guts of their living host, Seska teeters between duty and scandal, engaging in romance with a girl from a lower caste. Sturdy beastworker Adalla would spend her days laboring in the very heart of the beast, a dangerous and important job. But she’s also Seska’s best friend. The young women’s burgeoning romance threatens both their social standings and their lives in the strict and cruel hierarchy of their society. When their ill-advised adventures uncover alarming secrets about the nature of their home, Seska and Adalla find themselves caught up in political machinations, family double-crosses, and lower caste uprisings. Can their love survive revolution and their own selfish choices? And how will their revelations reshape their world? ESCAPING EXODUS is wildly imaginative space opera  and is available now. The sequel, ESCAPING EXODUS: SYMBIOSIS, arrives on February 23rd from Harper Voyager: Amazon Bookshop Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores. ABOUT NICKY DRAYDEN Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel THE PREY OF GODS is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks, and with her new novel ESCAPING EXODUS, she’ll be taking her weirdness off-world to a civilization living inside the gut of moon-sized space beast. FOLLOW NICKY DRAYDEN Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads ABOUT ESCAPING EXODUS Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion. Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void. Then, Seske is unexpectedly thrust into the role of clan matriarch, responsible for thousands of lives in a harsh universe where a single mistake can be fatal. Her claim to the throne is challenged by a rival determined to overthrow her and take control—her intelligent, cunning, and confident sister. Seske may not be a born leader like her sister, yet her unorthodox outlook and incorruptible idealism may be what the clan needs to save themselves and their world. ABOUT ESCAPING EXODUS: SYMBIOSIS Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success. The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly—a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before—and could cost him his reign and his heart. He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske. Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors.
In this episode I’m joined by Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION. This dieselpunk fantasy novel follows Wenthi, a loyal patrol officer and talented cycle rider, who is sent undercover to infiltrate revolutionary biker gangs. The vibrant city of Ziaparr stands at a crossroads — recovering from long years of warfare and reclaiming a place in the world and its nations. But it’s dominated by a rigid caste system that elevates some ethnic groups to power and privilege, and drives others into slums and poverty. Insurgent gangs, connected by a mysterious voice on the radio, mount their bikes to attack the status quo. When the city patrol takes a rebel captive, Nália, they discover the gangs are using a street drug to magically connect their minds and sense their pursuers.  Wenthi’s mission requires that he use the drug to connect with Nália, to use her knowledge to gain the trust of the rebellion. But this deep connection with intensifies with every high speed ride. Nália haunts his mind even as he becomes closer to the band of revolutionaries he’s honor-bound to betray. Wenthi must choose between two paths—between his sworn duty, and the true justice being denied. The wrong turn could put him and his city on a collision course with disaster. THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION is high octane fantasy that is available now from DAW Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: four braided series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine, which includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew, and The Way of the Shield. He is also the author of The Velocity of Revolution, and has been a playwright, an actor, a delivery driver, and an amateur chef. Follow MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads About THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION Ziaparr: a city being rebuilt after years of mechanized and magical warfare, the capital of a ravaged nation on the verge of renewal and self-rule. But unrest foments as undercaste cycle gangs raid supply trucks, agitate the populace and vandalize the city. A revolution is brewing in the slums and shantytowns against the occupying government, led by a voice on the radio, connected through forbidden magic. Wenthi Tungét, a talented cycle rider and a loyal officer in the city patrol, is assigned to infiltrate the cycle gangs. For his mission against the insurgents, Wenthi must use their magic, connecting his mind to Nália, a recently captured rebel, using her knowledge to find his way into the heart of the rebellion. Wenthi’s skill on a cycle makes him valuable to the resistance cell he joins, but he discovers that the magic enhances with speed. Every ride intensifies his connection, drawing him closer to the gang he must betray, and strengthens Nália’s presence as she haunts his mind. Wenthi is torn between justice and duty, and the wrong choice will light a spark in a city on the verge of combustion.
I’m joined in this episode by THE MASK OF MIRRORS author M.A. Carrick, which is a pseudonym for the co-writing team of Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. The first book in the ROSE & ROOK fantasy trilogy, THE MASK OF MIRRORS follows Ren, a girl who forcibly escapes the slums of Nadezra to save herself and her sister from life in an abusive gang. She later returns to Nadezra, though, under a new identity, and with a new goal: Con her way into the most vulnerable noble house and amass her own personal fortune. But Ren soon learns that her marks are playing plenty of games of their own. Some may win her affection, while others weave layers of deceit. Figuring out who to trust becomes crucial as Ren finds herself caught up in aristocratic feuds and social upheaval, between virtuous lawmen and charming crime lords, and in the company of a mysterious vigilante. All while nightmarish magical corruption threatens this, the city of dreams, and all of Ren’s carefully laid plans. It will take all her talents and cunning to ward off destruction—because, in Nedezra, fortune favors the bold, but magic favors the liars. THE MASK OF MIRRORS is an intricate fantasy novel, published by Orbit Books and available now: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  Mentioned in This Video M.A. Carrick’s Advice for Writing Collaborations About M.A. Carrick M.A. Carrick is the joint pen name of Marie Brennan (author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent) and Alyc Helms (author of the Adventures of Mr. Mystic). The two met in 2000 on an archaeological dig in Wales and Ireland — including a stint in the town of Carrickmacross — and have built their friendship through two decades of anthropology, writing, and gaming. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow M.A. Carrick Website Twitter Amazon Profile Goodreads Follow Marie Brennan Website Twitter Follow Alyc Helms Website Twitter
In this episode I’m talking with C.M. Waggoner, author of THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY. In a fantasy equivalent of Victorian London, fire witch and all-around disaster human Dellaria Wells is in a bit of a jam. Delly’s good-for-nothing mum’s gone and got hooked on the Drip. Her vindictive landlady has cursed Delly with weeping pustules if she doesn’t scrounge up the rent money. And her perhaps less than legal or strictly moral attempts to generate some coin land her in the too familiar clutches of the constables. But Delly finds a potential solution to all her problems in the employ of a reputable house, joining a retinue of bodyguards defending a soon-to-be-wed young lady. Her new co-workers are a curious lot, a collection of women with surprising talents and confounding backgrounds. Delly summons her few shreds of dependability—and her not-insignificant talents as a fire witch—eager to score a hefty payment, and the attentions of a high-class romantic prospect amongst the bodyguards. What looks like an easy job quickly turns mighty dangerous, though, as monstrous, mechanical things of nefarious magical origin set upon the traveling ladies. Delly soon realizes that illegal magics are only the first of their worries, as she and her companions get caught up in a murderous plot by a violent, enigmatic foe whose agents lurk all around them. THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY is a twisty, romantic, and whimsical fantasy adventure, out now from ACE Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  ABOUT C.M. WAGGONER C.M. Waggoner wrote her first uncomfortable third-person bio in 2019, when it was attached to her debut novel, UNNATURAL MAGIC. Her second book, THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY, came out in January 2021. She’s also working on a third novel and messing around with an extra project with 200% more wicked witches and handsome princes in it than all of her previous efforts combined. FOLLOW C.M. WAGGONER Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads  
In this episode I’m talking with B.B. Alston, author of AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS. Amari is a 13-year old girl from the projects, attending a private school on scholarship. Her academic career sits in the shadow of her genius brother, Quinton, who graduated top of his class and fielded Ivy League offers. But after taking a mysterious job offer, Quinton has gone missing. His disappearance hangs heavily on Amari’s shoulders.  When an altercation with elitist bullies costs Amari her scholarship, she and her over-worked nurse mother face a long summer trying to figure out how to pay for school. But everything changes when Amari receives a highly unusual, for-her-eyes-only delivery. The briefcase from her brother contains several eye-opening surprises, including a nomination for something called the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.  Amari discovers a hidden world around her—of magicians and monsters, faeries and aliens, marvelous machines and devious dangers—managed and defended by the Bureau. As a young recruit, she’ll meet friends and make enemies among kids who’ve known magic their entire lives. And, if fitting in wasn’t already hard enough, she soon discovers her own magical talent is quite illegal.  Surrounded by adversaries in a supernatural world under threat of a powerful evil force, the challenges are overwhelming. But if Amari doesn’t succeed in the Bureau’s tryouts, she may never find out what happened to her beloved brother. AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS is a middle grade fantasy novel, available now from Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins:  Amazon Bookshop Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About B.B. Alston B.B. Alston started writing in middle school, entertaining his classmates with horror stories starring the whole class where not everyone survived! After several years of trying to break into publishing, he had just been accepted into a biomedical graduate program when a chance entry into a twitter pitch contest led to his signing with TBA, 20+ book deals worldwide, and even a film deal. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead. B.B. was inspired to write AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS because he couldn’t find any fantasy stories featuring Black kids when he was growing up. He hopes to show kids that though you might look different, or feel  different, whatever the reason, your uniqueness needn’t only be a source of fear and insecurity. There is great strength and joy to be found in simply accepting yourself for who you are. Because once you do so, you’ll be unstoppable. Follow B.B. Alston Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads  
I'm joined in this episode by Joshua Phillip Johnson, author of THE FOREVER SEA. This startlingly unique fantasy novel takes place in a water-scarce world completely covered by endless vegetation, where—instead of oceans—magically powered ships sail seas of miles-tall prairie grass. Kindred Greyreach is a sailor and young apprentice hearthfire keeper, using fire and bone fueled magic to power a harvesting vessel. But Kindred's deep understanding of the fire's own mystic language is unique among keepers—as is her creative, impulsive, and sometimes dangerous approach to solving problems. Kindred learns that her estranged grandmother—a venerable ship's captain and hearthkeeper—willingly stepped off her own boat and disappeared into the vast sea. But she learns that what appears to be suicide may have been her grandmother's quest to discover something hidden in the depths below. Chasing her grandmother's cryptic legacy forces Kindred to the center of a cultural water war, pushes her past safe seas to a mythic pirate city, and drives her to battle with great beasts of the deep. But will the answers she seek be worth the sacrifice of everything she loves — her ship, her found family, a life sailing under the sun — or does madness await in the endless dark depths? THE FOREVER SEA is a debut fantasy novel and first in a series of the same name, available January 19th from DAW Books: Amazon Bookshop Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I strongly encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely. About Joshua Phillip Johnson Joshua Phillip Johnson lives in a little green house on what used to be the prairie with his partner and their child. His work has appeared in Syntax & Salt, The Future Fire, and Metaphorosis Magazine, among others. He teaches at a small liberal arts university. The Forever Sea is his first novel. Follow Joshua Phillip Johnson Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads About THE FOREVER SEA The first book in a new environmental epic fantasy series set in a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea. On the never-ending, miles-high expanse of prairie grasses known as the Forever Sea, Kindred Greyreach, hearthfire keeper and sailor aboard harvesting vessel The Errant, is just beginning to fit in with the crew of her new ship when she receives devastating news. Her grandmother—The Marchess, legendary captain and hearthfire keeper—has stepped from her vessel and disappeared into the sea. But the note she leaves Kindred suggests this was not an act of suicide. Something waits in the depths, and the Marchess has set out to find it. To follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Kindred must embroil herself in conflicts bigger than she could imagine: a water war simmering below the surface of two cultures; the politics of a mythic pirate city floating beyond the edges of safe seas; battles against beasts of the deep, driven to the brink of madness; and the elusive promise of a world below the waves. Kindred finds that she will sacrifice almost everything—ship, crew, and a life sailing in the sun—to discover the truth of the darkness that waits below the Forever Sea.
Greta Kelly is the author of the debut fantasy novel, THE FROZEN CROWN. Violently displaced from the wild beauty of her homeland by a ruthless conqueror, the young princess Askia seeks support from a neighboring nation to the south. But in sun-soaked Vishir, where nobles live lavishly while refugees starve, Askia finds herself a blunt object amongst a court of delicate manners and fragile alliances.    The princess urgently needs Vishir's armies to intervene before her country burns. Yet first she must navigate a court that harbors too many enemies, including a vindictive royal son, the hateful mouthpiece for her northern aggressor, and the religious zealots who murdered her parents.    Her allies complicate matters, too. A friendly prince whose attentions invite scandal. Her loyal captain whose devotion barely overshadows his longing. An enigmatic Queen who may be mentor or manipulator. And the ghost of her best friend—an apparition only she can see, because Askia carries her own carefully guarded secret. She is a witch, in a world where magic can be a powerful tool—or a death sentence.    As every advancing day threatens the annihilation of her army, Askia will face an impossible choice. But will any sacrifice be enough to satisfy two opposing emperors and save her people?   THE FROZEN CROWN is the first novel in a duology, available January 12th from Harper Voyager:    Amazon: Bookshop: Barnes & Noble: Books-a-Million: IndieBound:   » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I *strongly* encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely.   ABOUT GRETA KELLY   Greta K. Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with offerings of too-beautiful-to-use journals and Butterfingers candy. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband EJ, daughter Lorelei and a cat who may, or may not, control the weather.   FOLLOW GRETA KELLY   Website: Twitter: Instagram: Amazon Profile: Goodreads:
In this episode I’m talking with Cass Morris, author of GIVE WAY TO NIGHT, the sequel to the historically-inspired fantasy FROM UNSEEN FIRE.  This series, called the AVEN CYCLE, explores a Roman-esque empire filled with divine and elemental magics, dangerous political machinations, and rising war between cultures and territories. Several years of harsh dictatorship have unbalanced the powerful city of Aven. But now, the Dictator is dead, and the resulting power vacuum draws in the late-ruler's allies and enemies to struggle for control of the Republic. Latona of the Vitelliae is a mage of Spirit and Fire, married off to a minor, indifferent noble to keep her life and talents free of notice. But with the dictator finally gone, Latona and her canny, gifted siblings can throw off the objections of society to seize a greater destiny for their people. Sempronius Tarren is an exiled but ambitious senator seeking influence in Aven. But in a political system that refuses office to those who possess magical talent, he hides a dangerous secret—a blessing from the gods that shows him shadows of possible futures.  Conjoined by politics, complicated by romance, Latona and Sempronius must work together to protect the Republic. But can cunning wit and divine magic stand strong against foes that wield brutal violence and wicked sorcery?  GIVE WAY TO NIGHT is the 2nd novel in the AVEN CYCLE series, and is available now from DAW Books: Amazon: Bookshop: Barnes & Noble: Books-a-Million: IndieBound:   FROM UNSEEN FIRE is available now:   Amazon: Bookshop:   » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I *strongly* encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely.   MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO:   AirTable database software:   World Building for Masochists podcast:   ABOUT CASS MORRIS   Cass Morris works as an educator in central Virginia and as a bookseller on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She holds a Master of Letters from Mary Baldwin University and a BA in English with a minor in history from the College of William and Mary. She reads voraciously, wears corsets voluntarily, and will beat you at MarioKart.    FOLLOW CASS MORRIS   Website: Twitter: Instagram: Amazon Profile: Goodreads:   FOLLOW FICTITIOUS   Fictitious Twitter: Adron’s Twitter: Instagram: Website:
BLACK CANARY: BREAKING SILENCE author Alexandra Monir talks about writing for the DC Icons young adult series, adapting the fan-favorite Black Canary and Court of Owls in a prose novel, and how she got the job of writing a major media tie-in.   This DC Icons young adult novel reimagines the fan-favorite DC comics superhero Dinah Lance as a teenager living in a near-future dystopian Gotham City.   Decades ago, Gotham and its vigilante heroes fell to a violent shadow organization called the Court of Owls. The Court has reshaped the city in their patriarchal image, setting up a cruel and vindictive autocracy. Dissenters are punished by superhuman enforcers called Talons. And women in particular have been subjugated—not just with the removal of rights and freedoms, but by having their abilities of music and singing artificially stifled.   Seventeen year old Dinah is fortunate to have been educated by her parents about life before the Owls took over. A childhood experience—hearing the forbidden, beautiful, impossible sound of a woman singing—drives Dinah to seek out truths the Owls have buried. Yet to resist the autocratic regime could land her, her friends, and her police officer father in Arkham Asylum—or in the morgue.   Dinah must find a way to unleash the incredible power of her own voice to combat the Court of Owls. And perhaps she can find an ally in her school’s new transfer student, a mysterious senior named Oliver Queen.   BLACK CANARY: BREAKING SILENCE is the 5th standalone novel in the DC ICONS series, and is available December 29th from Random House Books for Young Readers.
WE HEAR VOICES author Evie Green talks about creating her new horror / science fiction novel. We discuss her leap into horror after writing many thriller and YA books, juggling complicated thematic elements, and why readers love the "creepy kids" trope. In near-future England, the economy is collapsing, humanity makes plans to leave earth for other worlds, and a deadly pandemic steals the lives of children. But, when some kids manage to survive, they return from the brink of death with new "imaginary friends" in tow. Rachel, a divorced mother struggling against poverty, holds her illness-stricken son as life leaves his body. Yet Billy rallies, shaking off the fatal flu. Rachel rejoices at this miracle and feels grateful for "Delfy", the persistent imaginary companion she views as Billy's coping mechanism. But, as her son's behavior grows stranger and more unsettling, she must face the fact that this healing flight of fancy might be something more sinister. Nina, Rachel's teenage daughter, splits her time between parents, school, her first relationship—and training to be among a generation of space colonists looking for hope on a New Earth. But when she realizes Billy's friend Delfy might be dangerous, she learns that he isn't the only child suffering such a condition, and begins seeking answers for her family and others affected. And deep in an underground medical facility, an aging doctor named Graham looks after several of these children whose minds carry an extra passenger. He'll do anything he can to discover how and why they become afflicted, hostile, and violent. And anything to avoid his home, which seems to be occupied by the ghost of his dead wife. WE HEAR VOICES is a unique blend of horror and science fiction, available now from Berkley Books. Buy it now at: AmazonBookshopBarnes & NobleBooks-a-MillionIndiebound » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I *strongly* encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely. ABOUT EVIE GREEN Evie Green is a pseudonym for a British author who has written professionally for her entire adult life. She lives by the sea in England with her husband, children, and guinea pigs, and loves writing in the very early morning, fueled by coffee. FOLLOW EVIE GREEN WebsiteTwitterInstagramAmazon profileGoodreads ABOUT WE HEAR VOICES An eerie horror debut about a little boy who recovers from a mysterious pandemic and inherits an imaginary friend who makes him do violent things... Kids have imaginary friends. Rachel knows this. So when her young son, Billy, miraculously recovers from a horrible flu that has proven fatal for many, she thinks nothing of Delfy, his new invisible friend. After all, her family is healthy and that’s all that matters. But soon Delfy is telling Billy what to do, and the boy is acting up and lashing out in ways he never has before. As Delfy's influence is growing stranger and more sinister by the day, and rising tensions threaten to tear Rachel's family apart, she clings to one purpose: to protect her children at any cost—even from themselves. We Hear Voices is a gripping near-future horror novel that tests the fragility of family and the terrifying gray area between fear and love. FOLLOW FICTITIOUS Fictitious TwitterAdron's TwitterInstagramWebsite
MONSTRE VOL. ONE author Duncan Swan talks about launching his debut sci-fi/horror thriller via a successful Kickstarter campaign, the decision to split the long dual-narrative novel into two volumes, and writing for multimedia adaptability. In this genre-blending action adventure, a catastrophic event at a research installation unleashes a slowly advancing worldwide apocalypse. A squad of marines are sent on a desperate mission into The Cloud, a dark wave of devastation swallowing Europe, looking for answers where only monsters may remain. 89 days later, the Cloud has reached the United States, sending Americans into a spiral of madness. An aging lawman, a conflicted ex-con, and others search for hope of survival as society collapses, chasing rumors of an old nuclear bunker and running from certain death. We watch these narratives unfold in parallel in a story that weaves modern science, military action, dystopian dread, and visceral horror. MONSTRE VOLUME ONE is Kickstarter crowd-funding success and is available at Amazon and Bookshop now: Amazon: Bookshop: » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I *strongly* encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely. ABOUT DUNCAN SWAN South African born and raised, Kiwi immigrant, Australian citizen, and now a U.S. Permanent Resident, Duncan Swan holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Commerce. He originally wanted to be an astronaut, but somehow wound up working in finance as a portfolio analyst and making fancy spreadsheets. Now, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter and tells stories, working with amazing artists, editors, publishers, and marketing geniuses to create something new. Duncan's debut novel, MONSTRE – a story about survival and mad desperation, described as "sci-fi with teeth" – will be released in two parts. The first volume is available now in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats, and Volume 2 will follow in Summer 2021. ABOUT “MONSTRE VOLUME ONE” Day 0. From the wreckage of a research facility in Switzerland, a plume of toxic smoke and ash pours into the sky, forming an impenetrable cloud that is slowly smothering the world in darkness. As Europe disappears beneath the Cloud, a squad of United States Marines are sent on a desperate mission to find out what went wrong, and how to undo it before it's too late. Venturing into a cold, dark world, the Marines must travel deep under the Cloud, with no comms, no backup, and no idea of what they will face. Day 89. Half a world away, the Cloud has reached the East Coast of the U.S. With nowhere to run and no hope of survival, the American people have descended into madness, turning on themselves and each other. From the sidelines, an old Tennessee sheriff watches as his country unravels. But he can't bring himself to take the easy way out. Quitting isn't in his DNA. So when one of his deputies asks him to help protect her family, he leads them west, chasing a miracle—a rumor of an old nuclear bunker that just may be their only hope for survival. Because if the Cloud doesn't kill them, what's hiding in the dark will. FOLLOW DUNCAN SWAN Website: Twitter: Instagram: Amazon Profile: Goodreads:
Essa Hansen is the author of NOPHEK GLOSS. This debut science fiction adventure follows Caiden, a teenage mechanic who discovers his simple but highly regimented life is actually one of servitude on a hidden slave planet.   When his entire colony is sent to slaughter, Caiden alone survives, fleeing the vicious creatures who devoured his people. After taking refuge in a strange, abandoned vessel, he is saved from capture by a band of explorers, and whisked off planet—with only trauma and rage as mementos of his previous existence.   Among the stars, he discovers a multiverse of strange lifeforms, alien cultures, and unfathomably powerful foes. Torn by grief and guilt, accompanied by a quarrelsome found family, and in possession of a dangerously unique ship, Caiden wrestles with his own mysterious origins while facing a singular question: how can one boy take revenge on a vast, evil interstellar political entity?   NOPHEK GLOSS is an ambitious and imaginative space opera novel that arrives November 17th from Orbit Books.
I’m pleased to welcome author Alix E. Harrow back to the show. Alix’s debut fantasy novel, THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY, got nominated for—like—all the major awards, was on all of the best-of lists, and was basically a "whole thing". Her new novel, THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES, follows three estranged sisters as their lives uncomfortably re-entwine in late 1800’s New Salem. A patriarchal society has stamped down women’s magic as taboo in the name of control and moral purity. But the Eastwood sisters discover magic is at play nonetheless, as suffragettes and politicians clash, shadowy forces and awakening witches collide, and visions of a dark tower loom. THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES arrives on October 13th from Redhook.
In this episode, I’m pleased to be joined again by author Leigh Bardugo. She's well known for her expansive Grishaverse series of young adult fantasy novels, including the original Shadow & Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, and the King of Scars duology. Outside of the Grishaverse, she has also released an official Wonder Woman novel, and the supernatural thriller Ninth House. Today we’ll be talking about her latest release, THE LIVES OF SAINTS. This lavishly illustrated collection explores the religious folklore of the Grishaverse through short tales of miracles and martyrdom. Grishaverse fans will recognize some familiar names among the saints within and, indeed, the book itself is a real world manifestation of an object carried by a beloved character. THE LIVES OF SAINTS is out October 6th from Imprint, a division of MacMillan books.
In this episode, I’m joined by Ryan Van Loan, author of THE SIN IN THE STEEL. This debut Fantasy adventure sets a Sherlockian teenage street rat investigator and her troubled ex-soldier partner against political intrigue and violent piracy. In a world where pistoles and steel compete with mad mages and vengeful gods, Buc and Eld are sent to solve a tangled mystery that threatens to destabilize trade and society. But each are haunted by failures from their pasts, and their present—full of meddlesome dead gods and ship-sinking pirate queens—doesn’t look too promising, either. THE SIN IN THE STEEL is available now from TOR Books.
I’m joined in this episode by Andrea Stewart, author of THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER. This outstanding Fantasy debut novel features seafaring adventures, a unique and cruel magic system, an ambitious Emperor’s daughter with holes in her memory, a wanted smuggler chasing a specter from his past, magic animal companions, creepy mystical constructs, and so much more. THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER arrived in stores on September 8th from Orbit Books. About Andrea Stewart Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes. About THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands. Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognize her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic. Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.
I’m joined in this episode by Richard Kadrey, author of the long-running urban fantasy series, SANDMAN SLIM. These novels follow the paranormal misadventures of James Stark, a hard-to-kill, half-human magician who spent 11 years stuck in Hell as an arena gladiator and pet hitman for his demon masters. After carving a bloody path back to earth, Stark re-emerges in Los Angeles, hellbent on killing the circle of humans who sent him to suffer Downtown. But to live and avenge in LA requires grit, gear, and allies, plus the occasional occult odd-job to keep you in kevlar. When your companions are carnivorous spider people, fallen angels and disembodied talking heads, and your enemies are kill-happy sorcerers, undead legions and Hellion lords….well, you’re gonna need a grim sense of humor, a fistful of supernatural powers, and an eagerness to get way down and very dirty. For better—or probably worse—Stark has a triple helping of all that, which is how he earned his nickname—Sandman Slim, the monster who kills monsters. The ten previous high-octane novels in the SANDMAN SLIM series are available now, and the eleventh—BALLISTIC KISS—is also out now from Harper Voyager. 
Peng Shepherd is the author of THE BOOK OF M. This debut speculative fiction novel examines a near future world, fallen to an inexplicable epidemic called The Forgetting. All around the world, people have lost their shadows, and soon after, their memories incurably erode as well. Society has collapsed as the Shadowless spread, and their Forgetting warps aspects of reality in alarming and unexplainable ways. Hidden away at a secluded resort hotel, Ory and his wife, Max, have survived several years on scavenged scraps and fickle luck. But when Max’s shadow disappears, the couple are divided, racing across the dangerous urban wasteland — Max chasing her fleeing memories, Ory chasing his fleeing wife. Meanwhile, the Olympic hopeful archer Naz shelters in Boston, on the verge of starving, separated by an ocean from her Iranian family, when she is drawn from hiding to traverse America — with only a bow and arrow to protect herself and a beloved companion. Beyond them all is Patient RA, victim of an accident that left him with total retrograde amnesia, his memory wiped even before the Forgetting could steal it from him. After exposure to the first discovered shadowless, the Amnesiac — a man with a middle but no beginning — gains unique insight into the Forgetting and its true nature. But as Naz, Ory, and Max’s paths spiral towards conflict and upheaval, what role will the Amnesiac play, as “the One Who Gathers”? THE BOOK OF M is available now from William Morrow.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Adron Buske
Podcast Status
Jun 5th, 2017
Latest Episode
Apr 16th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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