Book Giveaway: Starfleet Academy: Gemini Agent

On behalf of Simon Teen, I have a copy of Starfleet Academy: Gemini Agent by Rick Barba for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 5. I’ll draw names on August 6, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Starfleet Academy: Gemini Agent

Relic Master Blog Tour: Catherine Fisher Guest Post

It’s very exciting to announce the publication of volume three in the RELIC MASTER quartet: THE HIDDEN CORONET. In this book I introduce a few new characters, and Raffi, Galen and the others finally start to learn some of the secrets of the mysterious Sekoi, and how to begin to correct the disintegration of Anara. Carys gets trapped in the Drowned Palace of Theriss, and Galen sees at last the face of one of the Makers, though perhaps not in the way he had wished. I hope readers who are still hanging on in this fast and furious journey will enjoy this installment!

In this blog I’d like to talk about characters. I notice when I get messages from readers there are two things they always respond to, and want to talk about. The first is concept- the big ideas of the book, the setting. This overall plan often gets people excited. But what engages readers, more than anything, I’m coming to think, is the way they relate to the characters, whether that’s liking them, hating them, finding them intriguing or just wanting to be them.

In the Relic Master set, I had my ideas for the two main characters from the start. The sorcerer and his (inept) apprentice is a really old idea; I wanted to take that and work with it a little, and see what would happen. Once I had the idea of the outlawed Order, and the powers of the keepers, I knew that Galen would be quite a bitter and haunted man. I liked that idea, because it would lead to a great deal of friction between him and Raffi. But it was only when a friend of mine suggested that Galen might have lost his magical abilities that I really saw him clearly. A proud, arrogant man, always secure in his beliefs, suffering such a terrible loss and doubt and then having to depend on a half-taught boy- he would really be interesting. So in the first book things are at their worst for him. And even the solution- his gaining the powers of the Crow- is a difficult one, because to have too much power might be just as hard to deal with as having too little. But Galen is more than bitter and reckless, I hope; he does have a great deal of compassion, and I wanted to bring that out a bit in Hidden Coronet, in the scenes after the Vortex in the town of Areto.

As for Raffi, he was pretty clear from the start. His fear, for one thing. He starts quite young; he is scared of death and torture, scared of the Watch, doubtful about whether he can ever live the life of a keeper. And yet something keeps him with Galen, when he might run away, and that must be some deep-seated love, and courage. Which I hope becomes clearer book by book, until in The Margrave….. But I can’t tell you about that yet! Raffi is also changed by his relationship with Carys, and the discovery that you can like someone who is completely opposite to you, and rubbishes all your deepest beliefs. I don’t think he’s ever come across someone like her before. Finally he becomes a strong, clear-sighted character, seeing Galen’s mistakes as well as his own.

Carys was a delight to write- I wanted to make her tricky, scheming, very determined; a high flyer but someone who pursues her own path. She doesn’t quite get the Makers, but she also is coming to loathe the Watch, and so she has to define her own truths. And of course she has a big dark hole at the centre of her life, because the Watch have taken her identity and her family, so she has to find something to replace them.

Finally, there’s the Sekoi. Inventing an alien race is the ultimate joy for a writer- anything is possible, as long as you can make the reader believe in it. The sekoi are cat-like, tall, seven-fingered, with a bizarre line in storytelling and their own, very secret lives. The sekoi in my story- whose name you never learn- is sardonic, world-weary and has a definite agenda of its own. It’s a great character to use to comment on the tangles that the humans get themselves into, and to have two very alien cultures confronting each other, with all their differences, and this comes to a climax at the end of the Margrave. (Again, can’t explain yet!) And where are the sekoi children, and why do obvious carnivores only eat fruit? Some mysteries remain, even to me!

Stories are told through people, their actions, their motivation, their hopes and fears. Readers link in with that, and I know from speculation about Incarceron and now Relic Master that they love to imagine further adventures for their favorite characters. Which is fine by me.

Enjoy book three. And next month, the final adventure, and the darkest most dangerous enemy of all- THE MARGRAVE!

Catherine Fisher

Read moreRelic Master Blog Tour: Catherine Fisher Guest Post

UK Brides: Win a SciFi Themed Wedding!

Want a science fiction or fantasy-themed wedding? Are you up for a challenge?
Then Dragonfly TV wants to hear from you!

In a brand new series for Sky Living, two brides-to-be will get the chance to share £25,000 for the big day! All you have to do in return is work in harmony together to plan an identical wedding day.

Dragonfly TV is currently looking for some brides who want a science fiction or fantasy-themed wedding. With a budget of £25,000 they’re looking for people who want to be really creative and go all out with it.

For an application form or more information, please email brides@dragonfly.tv and fill out the application form. Alternatively, you can call David at 0203 487 1201 (UK applicants only).

Book Review: Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever

Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever, by Greg Cox

Secret Service agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering work at a top-secret storage facility called Warehouse 13. This warehouse is home to historical and supernatural artifacts. It’s the job of Pete and Myka to search for rogue artifacts that are lost or misused and bring them back to be archived. Pete and Myka’s latest assignment takes them to a carnival where a woman seems to be healing people of all sorts of ailments with the help of a mysterious glove. Meanwhile, the other glove has another sort of power. And the man using it is spreading disease and death.

I’m a sucker for a good tie-in, and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. Based on the popular show on Syfy, Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever takes the characters on an all new adventure. The characters are just as fun and engaging as on television. While Pete and Myka are off hunting, the rest of the folks back home have to deal with their own catastrophe. With plenty of suspense, humor and adventure, fans of the show will love this tie-in. Fast-paced and action-packed, this was absolute excitement and entertainment from beginning to end.

Warehouse 13 Q&A with Aaron Ashmore and Jack Kenny

Jack Kenny is executive producer of Warehouse 13, and Aaron Ashmore will be joining the cast as new Agent Steve Jinks. Season 3 of Warehouse 13 premieres Monday, July 11th on Syfy.

Aaron, can you talk about Steve Jinks and his ability to detect lying?

Aaron Ashmore: Well I think I thought about it and was maybe overcomplicating it — this idea of being able to tell when someone’s lying. But, talking to Jack and when we kind of got into it, it was a very simple thing of just looking at somebody and being able to tell whether they’re lying or not.

I mean I think that the ability is quite simple in the way it works, but the way that it affects the character, I think, makes him very tentative when it comes to people and trusting people. He knows that everybody lies. And I think as human beings we know that anyways but being able to tell exactly when those things are happening, I think makes him put a little bit of a wall up around him.

And I think that that’s the real thing that when you’re playing – when I’m playing Steve that I had to think about him and be aware of. So I think that that’s really the big part of the character that there’s these walls up because of his ability to tell when people are lying.

With Steve coming in as Pete’s new partner, where that leave Myka?

Jack Kenny: Well just to keep myself from getting into trouble I never said she would definitely be back. They’ll hunt me down and shoot me. No, what I’ve always – what I kept saying to people is don’t worry. We have our fans’ best interest at heart and everybody should just relax and enjoy the ride.

Remember at the end of the first season we killed Artie… So everybody should just not worry. It’s going to be a great year and everybody’s going to be thrilled. That said, that’s part of the fun of the season this year is in the first episode is Myka coming back? If she does, how is she coming back? How does Aaron fit into all this?

It’s a nice fun beat. But honestly it’s just, as I keep saying and I’m surprised because I never really thought about it — Aaron fits so well into this family that it hasn’t felt like an issue. There’s been plenty of room in this show to have this new character. And I got to tell you, just separately of the writing and the acting and the shooting, everybody in the cast just loves Aaron.

So it would be different if we had somebody who was a jerk. But he’s such a terrific human being and brings so much warmth and professionalism to the set that I think people look forward to doing scenes with him and seeing him. So it’s been – it’s just been a real kind of a joy this year.

Will the show be visiting other warehouses again this year?

Read moreWarehouse 13 Q&A with Aaron Ashmore and Jack Kenny

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