Interview with E.C. AMBROSE

AmbroseEC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is E.C. Ambrose?

E.C. Ambrose writes The Dark Apostle series of adventure-based historical fantasy novels, beginning with Elisha Barber from DAW Books. An art school drop-out, the author is both a graduate of and an instructor for the Odyssey Writing workshop, and a participant in the Codex on-line neo-pro writers’ workshop. In addition to writing, E. C. works as an adventure guide, teaching rock climbing and leading hiking, kayaking, climbing and mountain biking camps. Past occupations include founding a wholesale business, selecting stamps for a philatelic company, selling equestrian equipment, and portraying the Easter Bunny on weekends.

Your latest novel, Elisha Daemon, will be published by DAW in February 2018. It’s the fifth novel in your Dark Apostle series. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the previous novels expect from the newest instalment?

The Dark Apostle is an adventure-based historical fantasy series about medieval surgery.  These books enter some grim territory, being true to the reality of 14th century life and medicine — the research was half the fun! Writing Elisha Daemon was a special challenge because it had to hit bigger and harder than the previous volumes and reveal the perfect climax for all of Elisha’s struggles. The perfect ending is both surprising (“Wow, I didn’t see that coming!’) and inevitable (“Of course that’s what had to happen!”).  I’m hoping I nailed it. It brings together old and new characters with the culmination of some of the ideas I’ve been playing with throughout the books. Continue reading

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Interview with GERALD BRANDT

BrandtG-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Gerald Brandt?

You sure don’t start with the easy questions, do you? Chances are you’d get different answer if you asked this on a Tuesday than if you asked on a Friday. I guess I’m a dad first and foremost. I’m quite surprised at how much my kids, not necessarily define me, but make me who I am. After that I’m an author, and last on the list I’m a computer guy. Hey, it’s a living. I rock climb, I ride motorcycles, and I walk the dog every morning.

Your new novel, The Rebel, is due to be published by DAW in November. It’s the third novel in your San Angeles series, and looks rather cool. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader, and what can fans of the first two novels expect from this latest installment?

Everyone likes to say their book is “X meets Y”, like “Bladerunner meets Snow Crash.” I tend not to do that. I describe the San Angeles series as eighty percent thriller and twenty percent science fiction, with a pace that will leave you breathless (I hope). It’s got assassins that will stop at nothing to get the job done, corporations that are as huge as they are corrupt, massive sections of land taken over by cities that reach up to seven levels high. And, in the midst of it all, a motorcycle courier that has seen too much to be left alone. Continue reading

Guest Post: “I am Not in Control” by Joshua Palmatier

PalmatierJ-AuthorPicI’m certain nearly everyone who loves to read books and follows their favorite authors has heard those authors at some point say, “The character took control.” This is extremely common. In fact, with my own writing, if the characters don’t at some point take control and do unexpected things, then the book isn’t succeeding. The characters need to take on their own life for the author. If they aren’t doing that for the author, then they certainly aren’t coming to life for the reader. And that means the book has failed.

However, I want to talk about something a little more significant than a character suddenly revealing a lifelong passion for poisons, altering the plot and bringing in an added extra (darker?) layer to the character that you’d never considered. What I want to talk about is when the book takes control. Not just a character or set of characters, but the entire book. Continue reading

Excerpt: BLOOD UPON THE SAND by Bradley Beaulieu (Gollancz)

beaulieub-3-blooduponthesandukToday, we have an excerpt from Brad Beaulieu‘s highly-anticipated Blood Upon the Sand, the next novel in his Song of the Shattered Sands epic fantasy series. First, the synopsis:

Second in epic new fantasy series of mystery, prophecy and death within the ancient walled city of Sharakhai, home to the Twelve Kings…

Çeda, an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai, is learning their secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She has already uncovered the dark history of the asirim, but it’s only when she bonds with them, chaining them to her will, that she feels their pain as her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but their chains were forged by the gods themselves and are proving unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion the enslaved asirim have been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. The kings are hungry for blood, scouring the city in a ruthless quest for revenge, while Çeda’s friend Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host are laying plans to take advantage of the unrest in Sharakhai, and strike a major blow against the kings and their god-given powers.

The shifting tides of power are fickle and dangerous, though. The Kings and the Moonless Host have their own agendas, as does the dangerous blood mage Hamzakiir, whose plotting uncovers a devastating secret that could shatter the power of the hated kings. But it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her…

Blood Upon the Sand is due to be published next week by Gollancz in the UK, and DAW Books in North America. Now, on with the excerpt!

Continue reading

Upcoming: OF SAND AND MALICE MADE by Bradley Beaulieu (Gollancz/DAW)

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Earlier today, Gollancz unveiled the UK cover for Bradley Beaulieu‘s next fantasy novel, Of Sand And Malice Made. As you can see above, it’s rather stunning (maybe one of my favourites of year — actually, alongside the cover for his co-written The Burning Light, which is to be published by Tor.com later this year). It’s the second novel in the author’s Shattered Sands series, but is a prequel to the first, Twelve Kings, which was published last year. Here’s the synopsis:

Çeda is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this brilliant new story, a prequel to Twelve Kings, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf. None but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.

But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, one of the sadistic creatures known as ehrekh which were forged long ago by the god of chaos. They are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda’s struggle becomes a battle for her friends, her life, and her very soul.

The novel will be published in the US and Canada by DAW Books, with another great cover (below). Twelve Kings is published in the US/Canada by DAW Books, as Twelve Kings in Sharakai.

Also on CR: Interview with Bradley Beaulieu; Excerpt from Twelve Kings; Guest Post “On Co-Authoring Strata” (with Stephen Gaskell); Reviews of Twelve KingsThe Winds of Khalakovo and Strata

For more on Brad’s writing and novels, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow him on Twitter and Goodreads.

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Interview with JACEY BEDFORD

BedfordJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Jacey Bedford?

I’m a British writer who qualified as a librarian and then spent twenty years as a full-time folk singer touring the world with vocal trio Artisan. Since the band retired from the road I’ve become a booking agent, fixing music tours for other performers. I work from home and split my time between my music business and my writing. I’ve sold short stories to anthologies and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. My first two novels for DAW, Empire of Dust and Crossways, both science fiction, came out in 2014 and 2015 respectively and Winterwood, my first historical fantasy, comes out in February 2016. Continue reading

Excerpt: STARBOUND by Dave Bara (DAW)

BaraD-LC2-StarboundUSDave Bara‘s Starbound is the sequel to the author’s debut science fiction novel, Impulse. The author was one of the many hotly-tipped new science fiction authors of the past 12 months, and the novel seems to have clicked for a good number of SF fans. (There were so many interesting new series and SF novels published this past year.) I’ve not had a chance to read Impulse, yet (I do own it, though), but I’m certainly intrigued in the series. Here’s the synopsis for Starbound:

THE FIRST EMPIRE HAS RETURNED.

THE NEW GALACTIC UNION HANGS IN THE BALANCE…

The Lightship Impulse is gone, sacrificed while defeating First Empire ships the fragile new galactic alliance hoped it would never see again. 

For Peter Cochrane, serving as third officer on the Starbound and tasked with investigating a mysterious space station in a newly re-discovered system, the wounds of battle may have healed, but the battle is far from over.

Due to be published in North America by DAW Books in January 2016, the publisher has sent me this following excerpt to share. Continue reading