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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Enemy: On The Bones of The Gods

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Excerpt from Enemy: On The Bones of the Gods by K. Eason
Copyright 2016 K. Eason, Published by 47 North, Seattle

Smoke collected on the belly of the storm. It rose up in slim fingers above the tree line, coiled into a fist when it cleared the ridge. Hung there and spread against the underbelly of the clouds like oil across water.

If a man stood just so, facing into the wind, he might imagine that it was the forest burning. Except this was the wrong season for natural fires. Too cold, too wet, snow underfoot and more waiting overhead. It was the wrong smell, too, for burning trees. The wind brought a firepit stink, flesh and charcoal and dung. Village smells, which most days meant sure shelter, with a storm on the way.

Then that man would peer skyward and consider the clouds, and give thanks to his ancestors that the village was so near and that he had a sackful of tradables to buy his welcome. Snowhare skins, soft and white. A fine rack of antlers he’d taken off a bull elk that had broken through the snow-crust upslope a day ago, weak and furious and an easy mark for arrows.

Good fortune, Veiko had thought then. Meat and hide, horn and hooves. Worth the extra day spent above the trees while the storm gathered. Worth the weight on the hike down. A stranger did not walk into an Alvir village unchallenged, from the forest, looking like Veiko did. A stranger came by the road, with goods and hands on clear display, his axe on his hip and bow slung on his back.

Except on that road now, there was a column of soldiers jogging toward the crease in the hills, and the smoke, and the village. Their collective breath streamed out behind them like steam off a boiling pot. The standard-bearer’s flag clung sullenly to its pole, wrapped tight against the gusts. Illhari legion, armed and armored and moving fast.

Now Veiko wondered if he’d caught the elk’s unluck. Failed to appease its spirit. Because that was not village smoke collecting there above the trees. Nor was that the smell of village cookfires.
Charred meat. Charred wood. The smell of raiding.

Had Veiko not found that elk, he might have been in the village when the raiders came, and it might be his meat stinking on the wind. He shivered. Perhaps it was not unluck the elk had given him. Perhaps its spirit had repaid him in kind: saved him from a trap and slow death in return for relief from the same.
Beside him, Helgi heaved a deep-chested whine. Protest. Query. Distress, maybe, at the smoke-reek and the movement on the road. Veiko dropped a quick hand to the dog’s head. Glanced sidelong and found Logi halfway out of his crouch, ears up and curious. Logi knew roads meant villages, people, new things, and warm sleeping.

But not that village, not now. Even if he might find walls still standing, or some shelter, the legion wouldn’t welcome him. Tall, pale foreigner, with village houses burned and people dead, no, they would—what was the Dvergiri word for it?—detain him. And likely shoot his dogs. Maybe throw him in chains after and sell him in the city. He’d heard his elders’ tales about Illhari justice. Best he get as far from the road as he could, as soon as he could. There were other villages. Let the raiders come for him, if they felt brave. Let them try to find him at all.

He took a handful of Logi’s scruff. “No.” He winced. Days since he’d used his voice. “Wait.”
Logi sighed and dropped his chin onto his paws. Helgi chuffed and settled back to his belly. And the three of them waited, part of the snowscape, until the last trooper bobbed out of sight.

Snowdenaelikk had just rolled the last of her jenja, lit it, and blown the first smoke that didn’t stink like destruction, when Briel’s sending came. A cascade of jumbled impressions crowded into her skull. A svartjagr’s vantage, above the tree line and moving fast: dizzy twist of tree and ground, a flash of

two legs
color, the hollow-gut swerve and there, a
clutch

trio of troopers, marching ragged up the path above Davni. One
trailed

wounded/prey
behind the others, who
pecked

kept heads together. Two male, one female. And because Briel remembered her training: an eyeblink’s focus on the weapons. Plain legion blades, still sheathed. Short javelins in a sling on the larger man’s back. Crossbow on the woman’s. The night-and-blood diamond pattern on the tunics. They were from Cardik’s garrison, that was no surprise. But to arrive at this toadshit village already, this fast—Laughing God, that was.

The sending ended, and the blindness came. Price of a svartjagr’s sending, yeah, count it out in heartbeats. No need for panic. Listen to the sizzle where her jenja had landed, smell the sweet and spice. She thought about trying to find it, pat-pat in the snow. Salvage something of it. Swore instead and crouched, her hands flat to the wall of the ruined temple. Cold stone, slick moss, a dead Alvir god’s face roughing her palms. She waited for the sunrise stages of vision, black to grey to, well, more grey, in the shadowless pre-blizzard twilight. This wasn’t so different than the cave-dark of Below, without witchfire.

Overhead, a whisper of wings and tail. A thump as Briel found a perch in what remained of the temple’s rafters. Soot sifted down from the impact, fresh stinging insult to offended eyes.

Snow blinked tears and blur as her vision crept back. “Fuck, Briel. Kill me someday, won’t you, if you send when I need to see.”

Briel hissed. One of her three primary utterances. Big talker, Briel.

Snow squinted up, scanned the rafters. Stone building, this one, the corpse of a temple gutted during the Purge. The walls still stood, moss- grown on the north sides, the tough mountain spine-vines on the rest. Most of the roof had spilled down between them. The thatch had gone first, collapsed and left a rib cage of crossbeams. Briel’s hide matched the wood’s greasy black. Invisible until she dipped her long neck and stared down at Snow. In the twilight, the svartjagr’s eyes glowed like embers. Like the village had when the last of the fires sputtered to ash. She and Drasan had picked through the wreckage, expecting the odd bit of surviving silver and coin. Instead, they’d found all the wealth you’d expect in an Alvir village on a caravan route, wealth no raiders would have left behind.


Courtesy of 47North, I have a copy of Enemy: On The Bones of the Gods by K. Eason for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 15. I’ll draw a name on July 16, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Enemy: On The Bones of The Gods

Blog Tour: BLOOD IN THE WATER by Taylor Anderson + 4-Book Giveaway!

About the Book:
Taylor Anderson’s enthralling New York Times bestselling series of alternate history continues as game-changing revelations upend the Grand Alliance in a potentially cataclysmic war.

Ever since the USS Walker came from another world war to defy the terrifying Grik and diabolical Dominion, Matt Reddy and his crew have given their all to protect the oppressed Lemurians. But with the Walker in desperate need of repairs just as the Grik’s First General is poised to strike, Reddy is desperate.

With more enemies than ever before arrayed against them, the crew of the Walker needs new allies. That means combing the lethal wilds of Madagascar to find the Lemurians’ fabled ancestors, as well as the enigmatic dwellers east of the Pass of Fire. But what Reddy’s crew unearths may be more than they can handle—discoveries so shattering they could tilt the balance of the war in either direction.
But Reddy’s greatest adversary is from his past: a madman named Kurokawa whose single-minded mission of revenge will shake the Alliance to its core and raise the stakes to the most personal and terrifying levels Reddy has ever faced.

About the Author:
Taylor Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen series, including Straits of Hell, Deadly Shores, and Storm Surge. A gunmaker and forensic ballistic archaeologist, Taylor has been a technical and dialogue consultant for movies and documentaries, and an award-winning member of the National Historical Honor Society and of the United States Field Artillery Association. He has a master’s degree in history and has taught that subject at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He lives in nearby Granbury with his family.

DESTROYERMEN SERIES ORDER:
1. INTO THE STORM
2. CRUSADE
3. MAELSTROM
4. DISTANT THUNDERS
5. RISING TIDES
6. FIRESTORM
7. IRON GRAY SEA
8. STORM SURGE
9. DEADLY SHORES
10. STRAITS OF HELL
11. BLOOD IN THE WATER (OUT JUNE 14, 2016)


Courtesy of Roc, I have a copy of the following titles by Taylor Anderson for one (1) lucky winner:
Rising Tides
Firestorm
Iron Gray Sea
Storm Surge

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 8. I’ll draw a name on July 9, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Blog Tour: BLOOD IN THE WATER by Taylor Anderson + 4-Book Giveaway!

Star Trek Blog Tour and Giveaway!

BTE_ChapterFour_Header

Excerpt from Boarding the Enterprise, the Anniversary Edition:
“The Prime Question” by Eric Greene

Eric Greene played the alien child Loki on the 1977 Saturday morning SF series Space Academy, which also starred Pamelyn Ferdin and Brian Tochi, who had guest starred in the Trek episode “And the Children Shall Lead.” He went on to write the brilliant critical study Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture, and to work for the American Civil Liberties Union. We could think of no one better qualified to look at Star Trek’s relation- ship to the real world of the 1960s.

We had the overarching authority of science fiction and we could go anywhere with that and under that guise we could also talk about the issues of the day…. The war in Vietnam… no one was allowed to talk about on television if you had a contemporary show, but under sci- ence fiction we were able to get in commentary on Vietnam.

—d. c. Fontana, Star Trek Story Editor

Has a war been staged for us, complete with weapons and ideology and patriotic drum beating? Even… race hatred?

—Captain James Kirk, “Day of the Dove”  (3-7)

 

In its forty years Star Trek has become a legend. As the legend would have it, Star Trek derives its popularity from its positive view of the future, a future in which humanity has overcome poverty,  prejudice and war, reached out to alien species and joined with them in a United Federation of Planets to explore the stars in peace and friendship.¹ Camelot in outer space.

More than an exciting concept for a series, this is an inspiring prospect for humanity. Like any mass media project, Star Trek was many things: entertainment, a livelihood, art, product. But it was also a bold attempt, conceptually, to burst open an unoccupied space—the future—and shape its contours. It was a bid to create that future by suggesting what it might look like, how it might function and what values it should embrace. That must be why the show struck such a nerve, right? Yes. But there was more to it than that. There always is.

Like Arthur’s Camelot, or, more to the point, Kennedy’s Camelot, the legend of Star Trek and the history of Star Trek overlap but also diverge. The legend represents an appealing and important piece of Star Trek’s success but overlooks other essential truths. Star Trek was not only a vision of a utopian future; it emerged from, described and addressed a fractured, violent present.

I by no means want to dismiss  the positive  vision  that  was such  an important element of Star Trek. In my own case, for example, as a kid watching Star Trek in the ’70s, the image from the show that most excited me—more than  the colorful  bridge,  the magical  transporter or even the elegant starship—was the briefing room. That’s right, the briefing room. Just a table and some chairs. “The briefing room,” you might ask yourself, “a table and some chairs? That certainly doesn’t sound exciting. What could possibly be so exciting about that?” But I remember taking the worn copy of Stephen Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry’s Making of Star Trek paperback that I shared with my older brother Jeff (the  person  who earned  my everlasting  gratitude for introducing me to Star Trek—and all that came with it), staring at the picture of the conference room set and marveling at the memory  of Captain Kirk looking around at those gathered together of different races, species and specialties and saying to them, “I want options.”

¹ Leonard Nimoy provides one of the most articulate versions of this view explaining that Star Trek “was always a very humanistic show; one that celebrated the potential strengths of mankind, of our civilization, with great respect for all kinds of life, and a great hope that there be communica- tion between civilizations and cultures.” (Quoted in Greenwald, Jeff. Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth. New York: Penguin Books, 1998, p. 111.)

Something about that seemed encouragingly democratic, meritocractic, American. That conference room was where  decisions were made, and destinies were shaped—where all that mattered was if you had the brains and imagination to sit with the best and the brightest, think through problems and create solutions. The position you earned counted. The wealth of your parents, the color of your skin, did not. That’s a pretty powerful idea when you are seven years old, and I suspect I’ve carried the image of that briefing room with me into committee meetings, board rooms and conference tables throughout my adult life.

But the picture of that idealized briefing room was not the whole picture of Star Trek. This complex series had its share of contradictions: yes, the show featured a groundbreaking mix of ethnicities and nationalities and featured many guest stars of color in nonstereotypical parts,

even playing authority roles;² yet the recurring actors of color were kept in subordinate parts (as the TV satire In Living Color would brilliantly lampoon twenty years later). Yes, the show featured aliens who while initially feared as monsters, were eventually understood as beings who were just trying to defend their homes, protect their children or survive as a species; however, the Federation and Starfleet were largely “homo sapiens only” clubs.³ Yes, the show featured TV’s first interracial kiss, but that was hardly a breakthrough: Kirk and Uhura were forced into that kiss—it was desired by neither and resisted by both. And a Black woman forced to kiss a White man against her will ain’t romance. It’s rape. And a kind of rape with a disconcerting resonance in a country in which, for the majority of its history, Black women were subject to the sexual depredations of White slave holders.4

²Indeed African American actors were repeatedly cast as doctors, scientists, even commodores. This casting diversity seems to have been quite by design. While Gene Roddenberry had to fight for the inclusion of the alien Mr. Spock, an August 17, 1965 letter from NBC executive Mort Werner to Gene Roddenberry explained that NBC’s non-discrimination policy included encouraging the casting of racial minorities in order to reflect accurately U.S. population demographics and that “mindful of our vast audience and the extent to which television influences taste and attitudes, we are not only determined but anxious that members of minority groups be treated in a manner consistent with their roles in our society.” (Letter reprinted in Solow, Herbert F. and Justman, Robert. Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. New York: Pocket Books, 1996, pp.76–77.)

³ As a Klingon would pointedly observe in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in an admirable instance of those who made Star Trek actually challenging the legend themselves.

4 What’s actually striking about that much-hyped scene is not the obviously faked kiss (you never really see their mouths touch), but the surprising level of emotional intimacy in the dialogue leading up to the kiss. And that was not forced.


Courtesy of BenBella Books, I have a copy of Boarding the Enterprise, the Anniversary Edition by Charlaine Harris for two (2) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 24. I’ll draw a name on June 25, and notify winners via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Star Trek Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Received in May

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in May for review and/or giveaways:

Blu Ray/DVD:
The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1

Mystery Box:
1Up Box
Bam Box

Del Rey / Ballantine Books:
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Infernal by Mark de Jager

Disney Hyperion:
Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De la Cruz
The Trials of Apollo: Book One The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty
Munchem Academy: The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Commander S. T. Bolivar III
Race the Night by Kirsten Hubbard
Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie
Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Spindle by E. K. Johnston
The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Waterfire Saga: Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly
The Drake Equation by Bart King
Gabby Duran: Troll Control by Elise Allen

Harper Voyager:
Urban Allies by Joseph Nassise
Breath of Earth by Beth Cato
The Perdition Score by Richard Kadrey

KTeen:
Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Macmillan Teen / Henry Holt / Feiwel and Friends / Roaring Brook Press / Imprint:
The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker
Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino
Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
Nemesis by Anna Banks
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Penguin Teen / Putnam:
Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward

Roc:
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Scholastic:
Harry Potter Artifacts Coloring Book by Scholastic
Wings of Fire: Darkstalker by Tui T. Sutherland

Subterranean Press:
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block
The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan

Titan Books:
Warcraft: Durotan: The Official Movie Prequel by Christie Golden
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film by Peter Aperlo

Tor/Forge:
Chapel of Ease by Alex Bledsoe
Awakenings by Edward Lazellari
Eternity’s Mind by Kevin J. Anderson

Tor Teen:
Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

Blog Tour: Ada Palmer Guest Post

Ada Palmer

Author Ada Palmer joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about the world from her latest release Too Like The Lightning!

Too Like the Lightning: A World of Diaspora

The flying cars on the cover of my science fiction novel <em are more than just a promise that this will be a classic, energetic science fiction setting, with dazzling futuristic cities reminiscent of golden age SF. They’re also the center of the political system in my version of the 25th century. This future is linked together by a system of flying cars so fast that you can commute from anywhere on Earth to anywhere else in two hours, close enough to bring the whole planet into practical commuting distance.

Imagine if such a system came in as suddenly as smart phones, and within a few years it came to be effortless to commute from continent to continent. There would be political and even military consequences (we hear about that phase of history in the background of the story), but it’s easy to see how it would also revolutionize lives, and families. No one would have to choose where to live based on a job anymore, since you could in Bermuda, work in Tokyo and lunch in Paris while a spouse or roommate worked in Buenos Aires and you met for dinner in Antarctica. It’s easy to imagine the real estate upheaval as people rush to buy homes to the most beautiful and exciting parts of the Earth, but that generates another political consequence: a world of expats.

With these flying cars, suddenly living in another country wouldn’t be any impediment to still working and socializing primarily in your birth nation, and a huge portion of Earth’s population would suddenly start living in another country. Or is it really living in another country when you spend only a third of your time there, another third working in a second country, and the rest having fun in every corner of the Earth? And what about children born of parents who are Japanese but bought a home on the French Riviera to grow the view? This happens today with expat couples and immigrants, but if the flying car system came in it would suddenly happen to half or more of all the children in the world, within a generation.

This is the birth of the world of Too Like the Lightning, a world of diaspora, in which all cultural groups are spread all around the Earth, and living in the region where your ancestors lived is the exception, not the rule. It is a world of diaspora, much like the world of the internet where we have friends scattered around dozens of cities, and many of our most important relationships are unrelated to geography. In this 25th century, nations as we know them—geographic nations—are a thing of the past, since now that virtually no children grow up in a place that corresponds to their languages and cultures, a fully mobile global population finds it absurd that, in the olden days of people were governed by the laws the splotch of dirt where they happened to be born. Instead, as part of coming of age, young adults choose freely among several globe-spanning borderless nations, selecting the ones whose culture, policies and ideology are most personally appealing. Adults live by the laws of their chosen nations no matter where on Earth they reside, and what is legal or illegal in one house may be completely different from the house next door, depending on the choices of the family.

This world of diaspora is a fantastic place to explore political interaction, and especially cultural interaction. When you start Too Like the Lightning you’re plunged into a whirlwind mix of different races and languages, a detective from Alexandria investigating a break-in in Chile affecting a family with Chinese, Indian and Mestizo members and political effects on Japan and Paris. But this isn’t an exotic jet-set, this is normal life in this world of diaspora, when there are no majorities anywhere on Earth, just dozens of minorities mixing coequally in every space. It’s an amazing plunge, and an amazingly dynamic space in which to see how one mystery can sweep through and touch every corner of such an interconnected world.

About the author:
Ada Palmer is the author of the recently released sci-fi novel Too Like the Lightning and a professor in the history department of the University of Chicago, specializing in Renaissance history and the history of ideas. Her first nonfiction book, Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. She is also a composer of folk and Renaissance-tinged a capella music, most of which she performs with the group Sassafrass. Her personal site is at adapalmer.com, and she writes about history for a popular audience at exurbe.com and about SF and fantasy-related matters at Tor.com.

Author Interview: Larry Correia

Author Larry Correia joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about his latest audio book for Audible: Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent! The book is narrated by Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck)!

– Can you tell us a bit about The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent in your own words?

It is a comedy about colliding universes, and the insurance agents who have to put things right.

– Who is Tom Stranger?

He is number one in customer satisfaction, three years running. Tom’s life is insurance. His home universe was totaled because it had insufficient coverage, so he’s pretty hard core about helping his clients. He’ll do absolutely anything to provide good customer service, and in the multiverse that means everything from zero-G kung-fu to dinosaur wrestling.

– Where did this idea come from?

I was driving down the street one day with Mike Kupari (who is also a novelist) and we passed a sign for Tom Stanger Insurance. Mike read Stanger as Stranger, and said out loud what kind of insurance would you buy from a guy name Stranger? And it kind of spiraled out of control from there. Authors are weird like that.

– What is this universe like?

That is the fun part. It is all the universes, smooshed together. If you can think of something, it is out there somewhere. And when two universes collide, Tom will be there (well, unless neither one is covered, because then it isn’t his problem).

– What book genre do you prefer to read?

My main genres are science fiction and fantasy, but I read pretty much everything. I love westerns, thrillers, mysteries, and I read a ton of non-fiction.

– Is writing for a strictly audio book any different than writing for print?

Yes and no. I write the same for both, but I feel that listening to my own work in audio has made me a much better writer over the years. It teaches you to make your dialog and descriptions better, it helps with the pacing, and really drives home the unnecessary bits that you should have edited out. Above all, it teaches you to quit saying He Said or I Said or She Said too much. That drives me nuts.

– What are you working on next?

I’m currently putting together an anthology of short stories set in my Monster Hunter International universe, featuring writers like Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, John Ringo, Faith Hunter, and Jessica Day George.


Order now, for free from Audible!

Blog Tour: Nil on Fire: Excerpt and Giveaway!

NilOnFire_blogtour

Lynne Matson joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about her latest release Nil on Fire, complete with an excerpt and giveaway!


I’m so excited to be here today as part of the NIL ON FIRE blog tour! Today I’m sharing the first chapter of the last book in the Nil series: my forthcoming release, NIL ON FIRE.

As y’all may know, the Nil series is a trilogy about a mysterious island where teens have exactly one year to escape, or they die. Think Survivor meets LOST, with dashes of the Twilight Zone and heaps of FEELS. The trilogy begins with NIL, continues with NIL UNLOCKED, and on May 31, 2016, the trilogy ends with NIL ON FIRE. I can’t wait for y’all to read it!

Before I share the first chapter, here’s the synopsis of NIL ON FIRE:
Despite Rives and Skye’s attempt to destroy Nil, the island remains. And back in this world, Nil won’t let Skye go. Haunted by a darkness she can’t ignore, Skye wrestles with Nil nightmares that worsen by the day and threaten to tear her apart. As Skye fights to keep her mind intact, she realizes that to finally break free of Nil, she must end Nil’s vicious cycle once and for all–and she can’t do it alone.

Who will return to Nil, and in the end, who will survive? In this thrilling final installment of the Nil series, the stakes have never been higher: everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, including Nil’s own–and Nil will fight to the death. When the full force of the island is unleashed, Skye faces an impossible choice, a cruel one she’d never imagined she’d have to make. Soon one Nil truth becomes painfully clear: only one side can win.

Losing isn’t an option, but winning will cost Skye everything.
Awesome, right? (Of course, I’m totally biased, and unreliable. I love these characters more than I love Thin Mints, and if you know me, THAT’S SERIOUS.) Ready for the first chapter?

Here you go! Enjoy!

Chapter
1
Nil
After Noon

Paulo blinked, slowly, his consciousness returning in crisp frames filled with color and scent and sound.

He stood alone on the black rock platform. The acrid smell of death filled the air, accompanied by the distant crackle of flames. Above him, the sun burned like smokeless fire, still high noon. But over the carving, the gate was gone. Skye was gone.
His chance to leave was gone.

Reality set in, stark and devastating.

I failed, he thought.

A cry ripped from his throat like the wail of an injured animal. He dropped to his hands and knees on the harsh black rock, landing so hard that pebbles raked his palms, drawing blood, but he was too consumed by his growing terror and overwhelming bewilderment to care. How had he missed the gate? He’d waved to Skye, grateful she’d made it, knowing he was last and that the timing felt right—the completion of a circle begun three months before, the end of a cycle begun years before he or Skye were ever born. Only he’d hesitated, for reasons that he couldn’t explain. For reasons he couldn’t remember.

He’d lost time, mysterious minutes stolen by an invisible entity.

And now he was alone on Nil.

An angry tear welled in his eye; he wiped it quickly, already pulling himself together, knowing he wasn’t truly alone. There were lions and hyenas and pumas on the island too, and he was very aware that he did not sit on top of Nil’s food chain. He coughed, then choked, tasting smoke and salt. The thick air billowing up from the meadow snapped him to attention like a hot slap to the face.

He needed to get away from the mountain. There was nothing for him here, not now.
Not for three more months, to be precise.

Paulo stood, and with one last look around the silent black platform, he stepped back. Then, even though there was no escape, he turned and began to run. Down the steps, past the fiery meadow.

Around him, the island burned.

The island let him go.
It would wait.
It was accustomed to waiting.
Once it had waited for centuries. Time wrapped the island like an invisible sheath, fluid and constant, both armor and weapon.
The island was weakened but not broken.
The male kept running, through smoke and flames and blood as the island settled in to watch. And to wait. And above all, to renew.
And so it began, again. Only this time, the island would not show weakness.
Or mercy.
That era was over.

–End of Chapter One —

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at NIL ON FIRE. The full novel hits the wild on May 31, 2016. Or, as I like to say…
The end begins on May 31.

Before I leave, I want to thank you, Angela, for having me today, and for allowing me the perfect space to give readers a NIL ON FIRE sneak peek. Thank you so much for your love of books everywhere and your support of the Nil series over these past few years! I also want to thank all my readers for taking a chance on a crazy island . . . and for sticking with me to the end. This book is for you! To the #NILtribe! #NoRegrets

xo
Lynne


Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co., I have a copy of Nil on Fire by Lynne Matson for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 10. I’ll draw a name on June 11, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Blog Tour: Nil on Fire: Excerpt and Giveaway!

Author Interview: Catherine Egan

Catherine Egan author photo

Author Catherine Egan joins us today to talk about her latest release, Julia Vanishes!

Can you tell us a bit about this world where Julia lives?

Julia lives in Spira City, which is a sort of alternate version of late-Victorian-era London or La Belle Époque in Paris. The Prime Minister, Agoston Horthy, has outlawed all forms of magic and superstition, and witches are drowned in public Cleansings. The city is still reeling from a failed revolution and a terrible plague that left Julia’s brother scarred and crippled. It seems that magic has been virtually stamped out, but scratch the surface and the city is teeming with hidden powers and what Julia’s friend Liddy calls Something Elses.

What are these witches like? What are their abilities?

Witches can only work magic by writing it down, so an illiterate witch would essentially be powerless, and a witch with a pen is considered armed and dangerous. While they can alter nature in some small ways, the larger the spell, the greater the physical toll it takes on the witch. Julia’s mother never fully recovered from using magic to save her son’s life when he was ill as a child. Witches are also physically much stronger than ordinary people. They cannot be burned, and so fire is the test for a witch, and they cannot swim or float, so they are killed by drowning.

What do you have planned next after JULIA VANISHES? Any other stories on the horizon?

My horizon is made of stories! Right now I am still working on the sequels to JULIA VANISHES, but I confess that every now and then I guiltily spend my writing time making notes on my next planned book instead of tending to Julia. I’ve loved writing these books, but I am very ready for the next thing, and it is ready for me!

What is your favorite genre to read?

I don’t know if I have a favorite genre. I suppose the majority of my books are literary fiction, SFF, or historical. If you mix those three together, like in Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I’m in heaven.

Can you tell us about your journey to getting published?

I think I’ve been stumbling blindly for a long time without a clear idea of what I wanted to write or what I wanted to do with it. I published short stories in journals for many years – I thought I was writing magic realism for adults, but if I’d noticed earlier that half my stories had teen protagonists and a ghost or a troll or a fairy godmother it might not have taken me so long to come around to YA fantasy.

I wrote a novel for adults that nobody wanted, but I had a long exchange about it with the editor of Coteau Books, a small indie press in Saskatchewan. He gave me excellent feedback for a very thorough rewrite. When I told him I was going to take a break and write a children’s book, he told me to send it to them when I was done, and so I did. This “break” turned into me feeling like I’d found my genre, and Coteau Books published my three novels about a young Sorceress finding her place in the world.

While those books were coming out, I was working on JULIA VANISHES, which I sent by standard query to four agents when I was done (or: when I thought I was done!). Steve Malk thought it was promising and asked if I was willing to revise it. I said OF COURSE and we spent about a year reworking it. He would send me (excellent) notes, I’d rewrite the book, send it back, and he would send more notes. The result was a much better book, of course, and it sold quickly once it was done.

What are your plans for book release day?

I haven’t thought about it yet! It should probably involve chocolate, don’t you think?


About the Book:
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers invites readers to meet a heroine like no other in JULIA VANISHES (on sale June 7, 2016 / $17.99 / Ages 14 up), the first book in the Witch’s Child trilogy by Catherine Egan. Filled with murder, magic, mystery, and betrayal, this captivating read will have teen readers and fantasy lovers hanging on every page as they become acquainted with Julia and the things she needs to do in order to get by—even if it leaves a mark on her conscience. Even as the line between good and evil seems to become more blurry every day. . . .

Julia lives in a city terrorized by a serial killer. A city that witnesses the drowning of anyone deemed a witch, and that has outlawed all forms of magic. With no biological family to call her own, Julia and her brother have taken up with a group of thieves who steal in order to survive. And Julia makes a great thief and spy, thanks to her unusual ability to remain unseen. Not invisible exactly, but just beyond people’s senses. In her world, it is a valuable trait to have.

Now a teenager and fully immersed in the life that has been handed to her, Julia finds herself being paid to spy in the house of Mrs. Och, a woman known to aid witches and associate with a cast of mysterious characters. It seems as if suspicious activities are happening both inside and beyond the house’s walls, too and Julia’s boss wants her to report back with every detail.

As Julia becomes more entrenched in the Och household, she realizes that the job she has been paid to do is a conflicting one. If she delivers the information required of her, she can harm some of the very people she is starting to care for. But if she doesn’t, she won’t receive her payment, and she puts herself at risk for some very unpleasant consequences. A traitor no matter how she looks at it, Julia now faces the ultimate dilemma and the results will both surprise and stun readers.

About the Author:
CATHERINE EGAN grew up in Vancouver, Canada. Since then, she has lived on a volcanic island in Japan (which erupted while she was there and sent her hurtling straight into the arms of her now-husband), in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Beijing, on an oil rig in the middle of Bohai Bay, then in New Jersey, and now in New Haven, Connecticut. She is currently occupied with writing books and fighting dragon armies with her warrior children. You can read more about her at catherineegan.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ByCatherineEgan.