Blog Tour: Snakeskins – Book Excerpt

Snakeskins by Tim Major

Synopsis:
Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her Skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.

Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Prosperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.

Book Excerpt:

The images were almost entirely black, with only faint sources of light that illuminated the handful of figures. In the first photos the people were all in one corner, as if the photographer had been far away, or as if he or she hadn’t known quite where to point the camera. The people were arranged in a semicircle.
Despite herself, Gerry bent closer. In each successive picture, the figures grew in size. The photographer must have been sneaking towards them, hidden in the darkness.

All but one of the figures had their backs to the camera. Gerry realised that she recognised the woman facing the camera, standing before a fire in an ornate iron brazier. Her build was slighter than the people around her. Her shoulder-length hair shone white.

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RUIN’S WAKE Blog Tour – Book Excerpt

Today, we have a book excerpt from Ruin’s Wake by Patrick Edwards on this stop of his blog tour!

The City
They saw more signs of fighting as they got closer to the center of the great wheel. The backdrop to their cautious, darting route was a jumbled multitude of burned-out vehicles, pockmarked walls and the acrid tang of cordite. They passed a ground car, flattened under heavy treads and still on fire. The wall behind it was perforated in several places, the distinct patina of plasma fire coruscating around the edges.

Not far down the road a Factor’s checkpoint had been torn open by an explosion. Bodies lay in a jumbled heap, one man hanging over the crumbling lip of the crater, his legs a bloody crush of bone and torn flesh. A little further on a row of troops in stained army uniforms lay against the wall where their execution had taken place. Cale saw the look of fear still painted on the face of one of them, the hole in his forehead absurdly neat. The military had not been prepared for this.

An enormous pounding shook the earth and they dove for the safety of an alleyway. Threading through its narrow darkness, they found their way through to the other side, the close walls channeling the echoes of gunfire until it sounded as if the battle was on top of them.

At the other end they came upon a dun expanse: one of Karume’s state parks. A section of trees had been toppled by an enormous battle tank that squatted at the end of its ripped-up trail like a monster of steel and smoke in the center of the lawn, its turret sweeping the area.

They took cover behind a powered-down skimmer truck just as a war-walker erupted from the other side of the park, its massive feet churning up great chunks of grass as it closed on its prey. It was a patchwork of parts, unpainted ceramic plate showing through the soot that coated it, engines roaring as it brought its weapon arms to bear. The ground tank fired but missed, the concussion from the shell knocking the walker – but not toppling it – before obliterating two floors of a building. The walker dug ruts in the turf as it skidded to a stop, centered itself, then fired both cannons at once. The tank split open like a fruit as the heavy shells ripped into it; there might have been screams, but they were quickly swallowed by the howl of superheated air and metal. The walker made sure its prey was dead, then took off in the other direction.

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: The Fated Sky

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The Fated Sky Excerpt

Now I faced the wall, running a Fibonacci sequence to try to calm down. At least I didn’t throw up anymore. Usually.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 . . .

Behind me, Parker paced in tiny circles, shaking his hands as if he were trying to get blood back into them. An assistant with a clipboard waited by us, one ear covered with a giant earphone, as if he were at Mission Control.

. . 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765 . . .

The man with the clipboard leaned next to me and whispered, “You’re on.”

Onstage, Jack Paar said, “Please welcome my next guests, Colonel Stetson Parker and Dr. Elma York.”
I turned away from the wall in time to see Parker snap his genial smile into place. He gestured for me to lead the way. “Ladies first.”

My smile felt brittle and plastered on. Crinoline shushing against my legs, I strode out into the lights and the wall of applause. Beyond the banks of lights and cameras, real people sat in the auditorium. Beyond them, millions of people sat on the other side of television sets.
. . 10946, 17711, 28657 . . .

Mr. Paar shook my hand and then Parker’s, and we went through the requisite smiling and waving to the audience before we were seated on matching leather chairs next to his. A silver microphone stood on the floor between Parker and me, and I had to cross my legs carefully to keep from hitting it with my pumps.

With a tug on one of his signature ties, Jack Paar leaned over to us as if we were the only people in the room. “Thank you both so much for joining us. I tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over being five years old. I know it’s obvious, but I just need to say it . . . You’ve both been to the moon?”

Parker laughed. He really does have a good laugh. “I can’t believe it either. There are days when I have to pinch myself.”

“And, Dr. York . . . You live on the moon, is that right?”

“Yes, I live in the lunar colony about six months out of the year.”

“That must be fascinating.” Jack Paar leaned closer, smiling with all the fidgety interest of a child. “What’s it like?”

“More like Earth than you might think. I pilot one of the transport ships, ferrying geologists and miners out to various sites. I have a regular route, so it’s not much different from being a bus driver, really.”

Beside me, Parker chuckled. “Don’t let Dr. York sell her-self short. Piloting one of these ships requires a lot of skill because of mascons.”

Jack Paar raised his eyebrows almost to his hairline. “Mass cons? Is that a convicted mascot?”

Bless him for making me laugh, even if it was a poor joke, or I would have gaped at Parker’s compliment. “Mascon is short for mass concentration. There are local heavy spots on the moon where the rocks have more density, so it causes the ship to dip unexpectedly.”

“Wait—there are really spots where there’s more gravity on the moon?”

I nodded. “Here on Earth, too, but it’s so slight that you wouldn’t notice it. It’s one of the reasons we can’t automate a ship around the moon, because the math is too complicated for a mechanical computer that’s small enough to fit on the spacecraft.” Not that anyone wanted to hear about math. My job was to extoll the virtues of the Mars program. “But the lunar colony does give a taste of what our Mars colony will be like. It’s much the way living on the frontier must have felt for early Americans.”

THE FATED SKY Summary:
Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

About Mary Robinette Kowal:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”
Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.
Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: The Calculating Stars

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CALCULATING STARS Excerpt

In the East. At the euphemism, the saleslady’s eyes widened and her brows peaked with pity. “Oh— you poor dear.” And then curiosity followed, like a predator drawn to blood. “Where were you?”

“The Poconos.”

Mrs. Lindholm pulled out a navy blue dress from the rack and held it up. “She doesn’t have anything except the clothes on her back.”

A middle-aged white woman appeared from between the racks of clothing. “You were really there? You saw the meteor?”

“Meteorite. A meteor breaks up before impact.” As if anyone cared about scientific accuracy. I think this might have been the last time I corrected someone. “Meteorite,” for whatever quirk of the English language, sounded almost cute. “But no, we were three hundred miles away.”

THE CALCULATING STARS Summary:
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

About Mary Robinette Kowal:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: City of Lies

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CITY OF LIES Excerpt –

It had come without warning. One minute the attackers seemed at ease, the next a wedge of them had charged out of the falling afternoon sun. The woman reporting this to me sweated in her ill-fitting armor and gulped mouthfuls of air between sentences. A week ago she’d probably never seen violence of any kind. I listened, shoving a pointed helmet on my own head while someone buckled a resin-hardened plate around my chest, unable to pretend I was any less scared than she.

The sun had been in our sentries’ eyes, and none had noticed the ladders until the army had rushed across most of the gap. They had simply emerged, rising from the ranks like magic.

CITY OF LIES Summary:
Poison. Treachery. Ancient spirits. Sieges. The Poison Wars begin now, with City of Lies, a fabulous epic fantasy debut by Sam Hawke

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.

About Sam Hawke:
A black belt in jujitsu, Sam Hawke lives with her husband and children in Australia. CITY OF LIES is her first novel.

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: Starless

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Starless by Jacqueline Carey

STARLESS Excerpt –

My training resumed. I squeezed rocks and hopped up and down the staircase, and bit by bit, the muscles of my wrists and forearms and legs acquired new strength. The three-pronged kopar was still too unwieldy for me to use, but I reached the point where Brother Merik deemed me capable of learning the rudiments of the yakhan and began teaching me.

There was a great deal to learn. There was a complicated series of slashing strikes one made with the curved outer edge of the blade and straightforward thrusts with the tip. In close quarters, there were reverse thrusts with the spiked pommel, though one had to be careful to avoid fouling the blade. There were backward blows to be struck with the blunt inner curve of the blade. Brother Merik made me practice each and every one of them over and over, first with my right hand, then with my left. I did so with diligence, working toward the day when I should be allowed to spar like a true warrior-in-training. Brother Hakan, who was the smallest in stature, had promised to give me my first bout as soon as Brother Merik consented.

From Brother Yarit, I learned stealth.

I learned the Shahalim ways of walking: the silent toe-rolling step he had first demonstrated to me, the back-to-the-wall crossing walk, the swift heel-toe glide, the crouching walk, the crouching frog walk with splayed fingers and toes. On Brother Saan’s orders, Brother Hakan and a few of the other young brothers studied with us, so that the skills might be preserved and passed on within the Brotherhood of Pahrkun.

No one trained harder than I did, for the other warriors were already well versed in the usage of a wind- cutter sword. They needed only to keep the edge of their skills honed, while my fledgling skills were like a blade with no edge that must be ground on the wheel. At least that was how Brother Drajan put it, for he was as at home in a smithy as a kitchen, and taught me how to sharpen and maintain a blade.

_______________________

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.

Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

About STARLESS:
Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.

I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man…

Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

About Jacqueline Carey:
JACQUELINE CAREY is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology, postmodern fables “Santa Olivia” and “Saints Astray,” and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series. Carey lives in western Michigan.

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