Annotated Excerpt: TO CATCH A MOON by Rym Kechacha (Unsung Stories)

KechachaR-ToCatchAMoonUKToday, we have an annotated excerpt from Rym Kechacha‘s latest novel, To Catch A Moon. Due to be published by Unsung Stories this week, here’s the synopsis:

Mexico City, 1955. The painter Remedios Varo sits in her kitchen with her friend, the artist Leonora Carrington. Together they let their imaginations soar beyond their canvases to create new worlds.

In the surreal landscape of her imagination, Varo’s creations take on a life and power of their own. A wheeled spirit of the earth kidnaps a baby star; a woman who is half owl draws herself a daughter; a juggler entrances a crowd of grey-cloaked men, a lion and a goat. The rules that govern this world bend and creak, old alliances break, and an impending apocalypse forges the most unlikely of friendships.

Rym Kechacha (Dark River, British Fantasy Awards finalist 2021) spins a wild fantasy from Varo’s dreamlike imaginings, a world in which the moon’s daughter holds the key to mankind’s fate. Populated by witches, sentient animals, and a lion made of leaves, To Catch a Moon is a bold and fearless ode to the power of Remedios Varo’s timeless paintings.

Now, over to the author…!

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Interview with CHELSEA ABDULLAH

AbdullahC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Chelsea Abdullah?

I’m an American-Kuwaiti SFF author, reader, video gamer, sometimes-artist… and an all-around creative person who wishes they had more time on their hands to juggle everything! As a writer, I love exploring found family dynamics and experimenting with storytelling structures.

Your debut novel, The Stardust Thief, will be published by Orbit in May. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The Stardust Thief is an epic fantasy that follows a smuggler, a prince, a jinn, and a thief on their quest through the desert to find a mythical magic lamp. On the way they’ll have to face a myriad of obstacles, including a cunning jinn queen, a mysterious hunter, and an unfortunate number of dead things… Continue reading

Upcoming: UNTIL THE LAST by Mike Shackle (Gollancz)

ShackleM-LW3-UntilTheLastUKHCWe Are the Dead by Mike Shackle is one of the best fantasy debuts I’ve ever read. Ever since reading it, I’ve been eagerly awaiting each new novel by the author. (Although, I have fallen somewhat behind, and have A Fool’s Hope still to read.) With Until the Last, the highly-anticipated conclusion to The Last War series, due out later this year, I think it’s well past time for me to get caught up and ready for the final book! To be published by Gollancz on July 21st, here’s the synopsis:

SEKINOWARI – THE LAST WAR – HAS ARRIVED.

The breakneck conclusion to the trilogy that started with We Are the Dead. To beat the ultimate evil, sometimes the price is more than you can pay…

The war with the Egril has changed Tinnstra forever. A coward no more, she’ll go to any length to defeat every last one of her enemies.

Zorique has grown into her powers. It’s time for her to lead her army into Jia and spearhead the fight for her homeland.

But at what cost? The Egril emperor Raaku – the Son of Kage himself – is waiting for them. And he intends to destroy Zorique, Tinnstra and all their allies.

They will need to put everything on the line if Jia hopes to see the dawn.

If you read only one fantasy series this year, make it this one. Can’t wait for July!

Mike Shackle’s Until the Last is due to be published by Gollancz on July 21st.

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Shackle (2019); Review of We Are the Dead

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter

Annotated Excerpt: THE BLADED FAITH by David Dalglish (Orbit)

BladedFaith_TP-LP1.inddToday, we have an annotated excerpt taken from David Dalglish’s upcoming new novel, The Bladed Faith. The first in a new series, the Vagrant Gods, here’s the synopsis:

A usurped prince prepares to take up the mantel of a deadly assassin and reclaim his kingdom, his people, and his slain gods…

Cyrus was only twelve years old when his gods were slain, his country invaded, and his parents — the king and queen — beheaded in front of him. Held prisoner in the invader’s court for years, Cyrus is suddenly given a chance to escape and claim his revenge when a mysterious group of revolutionaries comes looking for a figurehead. They need a hero to strike fear into the hearts of the imperial and to inspire and unite the people. They need someone to take up the skull mask and swords and to become the legendary “Vagrant” — an unparalleled hero and assassin of otherworldly skill. 

But all is not as it seems. Creating the illusion of a hero is the work of many, and Cyrus will soon discover the true price of his vengeance.

The excerpt is taken from the second chapter of the novel. Now, over to David…

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Interview with JOSH WINNING, Author of THE SHADOW GLASS

WinningJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Josh Winning?

A goblin babe masquerading as an author! You’ll usually find me either reading, writing, or fending off attacks by my very needy cat Penny.

Your new novel, The Shadow Glass, will be published by Titan on March 22nd. It looks really cool: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Thank you! The Shadow Glass is my love letter to 80s fantasy films like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The NeverEnding Story. It’s about the son of a movie director, who goes on a real-world quest with the puppets from his father’s fantasy film. Expect bloodthirsty puppets, found families and a big dollop of The Feels! Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: THE CITY OF DUSK by Tara Sim (Orbit/Hodder)

SimR-CityOfDuskWriting books is so weird.

Ever since I was fifteen I knew for sure that I wanted to be an author. Back then, writing books was so much fun. I got to let my imagination loose, play around with (aka torture) characters, and make up entirely new worlds. There were no deadlines, no pressures, no expectations — just the joy of creation.

Although writing is still fun, I find that it gets harder and harder. So naturally, I like to challenge myself with each new book.

The City of Dusk was certainly challenging. It’s my most ambitious book/series to date: four separate realms, four magic systems, seven POVs. Somehow, it all came together in the end, but the journey was arduous and spirit-shattering. Continue reading

Interview with J. L. WORRAD, Author of PENNYBLADE (Titan)

WorradJL-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is J. L. Worrad?

A fantasy and science fiction author from Leicester, UK. My flat’s a stone’s throw away from Richard III’s corpse. We’re always finding monarchs under carparks around these parts.

Your debut novel,Pennyblade, will be published this month by Titan. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s about Kyra Cal’Adra, a disgraced noblewoman who sells her sword skills to get by and runs from the pain of her past by living in the moment, distracting herself with booze, violence and sex. All the good stuff. Unfortunately the past has not given up chasing her. It’s a pretty wild grimdark novel, inarguably, but under all that spiky filth there’s a big heart. Continue reading

Interview with R. S. FORD, Author of ENGINES OF EMPIRE

FordRS-AoU1-EnginesOfEmpireWelcome back to CR! For newcomers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is R.S. Ford?

Nice to be back. R. S. Ford has been writing fantasy for around 10 years now. I started with a little novel called Kultus back in 2011, and since then I’ve written two fantasy trilogies – Steelhaven and War of the Archons. During that time I’ve also worked as a TTRPG editor for various publishers, and as a computer game writer for Frontier Developments. As well as starting a new trilogy that opens with Engines of Empire, I’ve recently branched into historical fiction too, with the novel Oath Bound.

Engines of Empire, the first novel in your third fantasy series, is due to be published by Orbit in January. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s the first book in a brand new epic fantasy trilogy, The Age of Uprising – a sprawling tale of family, intrigue and betrayal, set in a continent teetering on the edge of war. That’s certainly the elevator pitch anyway. Continue reading

Interview with SCOTTO MOORE, Author of BATTLE OF THE LINGUIST MAGES

MooreS-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Scotto Moore?

I’m a playwright-turned-novelist, an amateur house music DJ, and a curator of bizarre and beautiful media, sitting somewhere between absurdist and existentialist on the “why is life even a thing” scale.

Your latest novel, Battle of the Linguist Mages was recently published by Tor.com. It has a really intriguing premise: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The book is a near future science fantasy adventure about Isobel Bailie, an extremely talented VR gamer who learns that her skills in the game have uses in the real world. She finds herself caught between a powerful conspiracy and spellcasting anarchists in a struggle to save the world from a vicious threat on its way to Earth from beyond this dimension of reality altogether.

And then, if the potential reader was still paying attention, I’d also mention that the game she excels at is a medieval rave themed game called Sparkle Dungeon. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE JUSTICE OF KINGS by Richard Swan (Orbit)

SwanR-EotW1-JusticeOfKingsAn excellent start to a new fantasy series

NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW

The Empire of the Wolf simmers with unrest. Rebels, heretics and powerful patricians all challenge the power of the imperial throne.

Only the Order of Justices stands in the way of chaos. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is the most feared Justice of all, upholding the law by way of his sharp mind, arcane powers and skill as a swordsman. In this he is aided by Helena Sedanka, his clerk and protégé, orphaned by the wars that forged the empire.

When the pair investigate the murder of a provincial aristocrat, they unearth a conspiracy that stretches to the very top of imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more personal, Vonvalt must make a choice: will he abandon the laws he’s sworn to uphold in order to protect the empire?

I remember reading the synopsis for Richard Swan’s debut quite a while ago. “That sounds interesting,” I thought to myself, and made a note. The buzz for the novel grew over the next few months, as it was sent out to authors for blurbs. So, when I was able to read an early copy, I jumped at the chance. The Justice of Kings is a very strong debut, and an engaging start to a new fantasy/crime series. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading