Upcoming: THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Tor Books)

MorenoGarciaS-BeautifulOnesUS2021With the considerable (and deserved) success of Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s Mexican Gothic, Tor Books are due to re-issue the author’s earlier novel The Beautiful Ones. First published in 2017, by Thomas Dunne, I think a lot of fans of the author’s latest hit novel will enjoy this one as well. Check out the synopsis:

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis — neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse — and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and himself—that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins.

The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones is due to be published by Tor Books in North America, on May 11th, 2021. I couldn’t find a new UK listing, but I’m sure one will be along shortly — Mexican Gothic and Gods of Jade and Shadow were both published by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK, so maybe them. In September, Tor Nightfire are due to re-issue the author’s 2016 novel, Certain Dark Things (no cover, yet).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with KRISTINA PÉREZ

PerezK-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Kristina Pérez?

Gosh, I’m not sure I’ve had enough coffee yet to properly answer that question. Improper answer: half-Argentine, half-Norwegian native New Yorker. Literary agent, medievalist, and the author of fantasy and sci-fi novels.

Your new novel, Bright Raven Skies, will be published by Imprint in August. It’s the third novel in your Sweet Black Waves trilogy: how would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the first two books expect from the new one?

Pitched as Graceling meets The Mists of Avalon, the Sweet Black Waves trilogy is a Tristan and Iseult retelling that stars Branwen, Iseult’s lady’s maid and nascent sorceress. Fans of the series know that you wouldn’t like Branwen when she’s angry, and let’s just say that she’s having a very hard time keeping her darker urges — and magic — under control. Continue reading

Interview with RY HERMAN

HermanR-AuthorPic (Kate Haag)Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Ry Herman?

I was born in the US, but am now a permanent Scottish resident. For most of my life, I’ve been writing and directing theatrical plays, and working a variety of odd jobs. Some of them were very odd indeed – I had one job which could best be described as typing the number five all day long. My hobbies include baking bread, playing tabletop roleplaying games, and reading as many books as humanly possible.

Your debut novel, Love Bites, is due out in July. It looks rather fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a queer romcom with a supernatural twist. After a painful divorce, Chloë is struggling to leave the house. When she’s bullied into a night of dancing by her busybody aunt, she meets Angela, an astronomy Ph.D. student. Sparks fly and romance blooms. The only trouble is, Angela can only come out at night, and has sharp and deadly teeth. Continue reading


CervenyC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Catherine Cerveny?

I am a total nerd fan-girl on the inside, but seem like a straight-laced conservative on the outside. I have degrees in English and History, and a Master of Library and Information Science — a professional shusher — but currently work in logistics and transportation, where I use math and science every day. I didn’t see that one coming. I love to read and have a “To Be Read” mountain of books large enough to ski down and potentially hurt myself if I fell at the bottom. I love traveling and try to go on at least one amazing trip a year, if possible. I am also married to someone who generally tolerates and indulges my quirkiness fairly well. Continue reading

Guest Post: On Inspiration by C.T. Adams

AdamsCT-TheExileCoverWhat inspires me? Everything.

No, seriously, I mean it. I know it sounds corny, but one of the things I’ve noticed about writers is that we pay attention to things—things catch our eye, and get filed away for future reference and use in the next (or next, or maybe the one after that) book. The best way to keep your conversations from being ‘clunky’ on paper is to listen to actual people talking. The best way to have diversity in your writing is to pay attention to the rich diversity existing all around you and try to reflect it on paper.

And influences? I can’t even begin to count them all. Every book you ever read, show you watch, even people you’ve run into on the cross town bus can come into play. Say you have a craptastic day where the car won’t start, and the toast gets burnt, you’re late to work and the boss is grumpy. It’s awful. Continue reading


PimentelM-AuthorPic2Although Love By The Book is a novel, the premise comes from an experiment that you conducted in your own life, that you turned into a blog called “Love by the Book.” What made you want to try this and how did you come up with the idea?

The idea came after a year of semi-successful dating in London. I’d come out of a serious relationship the year before (a marriage, in fact) so I wasn’t looking for anything remotely serious… and yet every time I tried to convey that to a guy, they seemed to think I was trying to trick them. It was getting annoying, so when the idea came to me to try these different dating guides – and effectively turn my love life into a science experiment – it instantly appealed. I’ve always thought that dating should be fun – when I was in college, I used to play a game called “wrong or funny” with my roommate in which we’d get ourselves in slightly awkward/controversial situations with guys and then ask each other if the situation was wrong or funny (the best ones were both) – so this felt like killing two birds with one stone: making a game out of dating and also (maybe, hopefully) learning something about male behavior along the way.

Why did you decide to write this as a novel and not as a memoir?

In truth, I ran out of material! The real-life experiment was going really well for a few months. It was fun (if exhausting) and the blog was starting to get some traction… but then lo and behold, I went on a first date with one of the test subjects and fell in love. It was sort of a double-edged sword: on the one hand, I was happy to have met the love of my life (we’re now engaged) but on the other, I was kind of annoyed that I had to give up the project. I actually tried to keep it going for the first month we were together, but it was getting too weird. An editor at Penguin who had been following the blog suggested a try to fictionalize it, and here we are! Continue reading

Excerpt: THINGS HALF IN SHADOW by Alan Finn (Gallery Books)

FinnA-ThingsHalfInShadowToday, we have an excerpt from Alan Finn‘s Things Half in Shadow, a historical and supernatural thriller. Published by Gallery Books in the US today, here is the synopsis:

Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop in this historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid crime reporter.

The year is 1869, and the Civil War haunts the city of Philadelphia like a stubborn ghost. Mothers in black continue to mourn their lost sons. Photographs of the dead adorn dim sitting rooms. Maimed and broken men roam the streets. One of those men is Edward Clark, who is still tormented by what he saw during the war. Also constantly in his thoughts is another, more distant tragedy — the murder of his mother at the hands of his father, the famed magician Magellan Holmes… a crime that Edward witnessed when he was only ten.

Now a crime reporter for one of the city’s largest newspapers, Edward is asked to use his knowledge of illusions and visual trickery to expose the influx of mediums that descended on Philadelphia in the wake of the war. His first target is Mrs. Lucy Collins, a young widow who uses old-fashioned sleight of hand to prey on grieving families. Soon, Edward and Lucy become entwined in the murder of Lenora Grimes Pastor, the city’s most highly regarded — and by all accounts, legitimate — medium, who dies mid-séance. With their reputations and livelihoods at risk, Edward and Lucy set out to find the real killer, and in the process unearth a terrifying hive of secrets that reaches well beyond Mrs. Pastor.

Blending historical detail with flights of fancy, Things Half in Shadow is a riveting thriller where Medium and The Sixth Sense meet The Alienist — and where nothing is quite as it seems…
Continue reading

An Interview with ANNA KASHINA

AnnaKashina-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Anna Kashina?

I am a biomedical scientist and a writer, not necessarily in that order. My day job is being a professor at a major US university. Writing is reserved for the rest of my time. More recently, I am also a mother of two, which taps seriously into all the other occupations.

Your novel, Blades of the Old Empire, is due to be published in February by Angry Robot Books. How would you introduce the novel to a new reader? Is it part of a series?

I hope readers would see it as an adventure fantasy in the best traditions of the genre, which also includes some elements of romance. It does not push the boundaries or create new concepts, it is intended as a fun, fast-paced read. It is book one of the Majat Code series, with book two, Guild of Assassins, coming out this August. I do have plans for other books in the series and hope to see them forthcoming later on.


What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?

As it turns out, these are two separate questions. Generally, my inspiration for writing comes from a desire to get some unresolved emotions out on paper. I can only do it in the form of fantasy, ideally set in a world that does not exist in real life. But a lot of ideas for these stories also come from my dreams. In a big sense, it almost seems as if these worlds do exist somewhere and find their way out into my books.

With Blades of the Old Empire, it was somewhat different. I wanted to write a traditional fantasy. And then, as I sat down to write it, the story just emerged. Once it got going, all I had to do was write it down. So, in this sense, I had an even stronger feeling that not only the world, but this particular story existed somewhere, and just found its way out through me. The feeling was very special, one I still miss.

How were you introduced to reading and genre fiction?

Tolkien-LOTR-1-TheFellowshipOfTheRingI grew up in the former Soviet Union. Back then, reading was pretty much the only form of entertainment available (we had no TV, and people did not go out much). I was reading ever since I can remember; everything I could lay my hands on, but my favorites were always fairy tales and myths, and this probably started my early interest in fantasy. The first true fantasy I read was The Lord of the Rings, and after that I was hooked on the genre.

How do you enjoy being a writer and working within the publishing industry? Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?

Now that I have a publisher, I love it. It means I can focus only on my writing and somebody else will do the rest. Of course, I used to see it differently before I found a publisher and an agent.

I write for enjoyment, and I do have a demanding day job; so, unlike many authors, I don’t have a routine in which I must sit down and write something every day. If I need to write something, I just sit down and write it, whenever I can. But the most rewarding times are when I feel inspired, and then keeping from writing becomes a torture and I literally use every available moment to write. This yields some of my best work.

I usually do research as I write, on an “as-needed” basis. If I feel very inspired, I leave blanks for the parts that need researching, sometimes with a note of what needs to be in there, and then fill these blanks later.

When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?

My first was a self-illustrated “novel” written when I was six years old, which ended with the words “and they sailed to the east, where the sun sets.” When my father politely pointed out to me that the sun actually sets in the west, I was so ashamed that I destroyed that “book”. I am sure it was for the best.

AnnaKashina&VladimirKeilisBorok-NovelMy first novel that I look back fondly on was written when I was in high school, co-authored with my grandfather, Vladimir Keilis-Borok. It is a historical novel about the pirates and Queen Elizabeth of England, written in Russian under pen names. I still think it is very good (probably for young adults) and maybe some day I will translate it into English.

What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?

This is difficult to tell. Personally, I really enjoy traditional fantasy that explores the familiar concepts well. I believe there are not enough such books out there – partly because the professionals in the industry, who have literally seen it all, tend to be attracted to new things they have not seen before. As a reader, I still like the old, and I hope we get more books published in the “good old” style. I hope my book would appeal to readers like myself, those who like to have fun with a book and don’t care about anything else.

My books also tend to have lots of romance (which is even more true about the upcoming Guild of Assassins), and I don’t think there are enough books out there that blend fantasy with elements of romance (usually these two genres are somewhat separate). I hope my books will appeal to the readers who are not straight romance fans, but enjoy good romance elements in their adventure story.

What other projects are you working on, and what do you have currently in the pipeline?

The Guild of Assassins is the next in the pipeline. It is a sequel to Blades of the Old Empire, even though each of these books can be read as a stand-alone. I am working on book three in the series.

RabyA-H&T1-AssassinsGambitWhat are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?

At the moment I am reading Amy Raby’s Hearts and Thrones series: a great example of traditional adventure fantasy with elements of romance. I am enjoying it very much. I mostly read non-fiction at work, so even though I do have several historical reference books on my shelf, they are on hold for the moment.

What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?

I hope, that English is not my first language…? (Unless, of course, my name already gave it away.)

I grew up in Russia and came to America as an adult, so for the first few years I was really conscious about my limitations in the English language. At that time, I felt that if I could make one wish, it would be to know English as well as I know Russian. I feel that in the past decade I have achieved that state, and possibly switched to English as the dominant one.

What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?

Well, I am both anticipating and dreading the release of my books. I hope readers will like them, and sitting around and waiting is just so unnerving. I am sure many authors can relate to this feeling, of pouring out your soul, defeating impossible odds, putting your work out there, and waiting for the reaction it would cause… All in all, fingers crossed!


Blades of the Old Empire is published by Angry Robot Books in the UK on March 6th and in the US and eBook format today.

An Interview with ALMA KATSU


A few days ago, a copy of Alma Katsu’s third novel, The Descent dropped through the mailbox. It is the third novel in the author’s The Immortal trilogy, but I didn’t (at the time) know too much about the series or the author, so I took the opportunity to send her some questions.

Who is Alma Katsu?

As a girl, I wanted to have a magical, fantastical life but the outlook was kind of narrow and grim, and I think that’s why I turned to creating my own worlds in fiction. Then, funnily enough, I ended up having a life that was the stuff of fantasy: working in intelligence, traveling, doing all this technical, math-y stuff that I never would’ve thought possible for a little storyteller. Lesson: you never know where life will take you.

I thought we’d start with your fiction: Your latest novel, The Descent, is the final part of The Immortal trilogy (to be published by Arrow). How would you introduce the series to new readers, and what can fans expect from this third book?


UK & US Covers

The Immortal trilogy is the story of a young woman, Lanore McIlvrae, who goes to the very ends of the world—really sort of transcends the fabric of reality—for love, only to find out that she shouldn’t have done it, that she was wrong to do it. Just when she’s resolved that she’s going to be unhappy for the rest of her life because she can’t have the man she loves, she finds out that this other man has fallen in love with her, a terrible evil man who is willing to try to change for her if she will give him the chance. And that’s where we are in The Descent: will she give them both the chance to live happily ever after together?

What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?

I wanted to write the story of a woman whose love is so strong that it would literally transcend time, but who ends up making a terrible mistake and paying for it for eternity. Great big, tragic love stories in general are the inspiration for the books: Tess of the D’Urbervilles (I’m a big Thomas Hardy fan); Anna Karenina; Gothics such as Dracula. Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire was a big inspiration for The Taker, but mostly for the structure: a character who has lived a long time and under unusual circumstances looks back on her tragic life.

I’ve noticed that as a writer I’m drawn to the same themes over and over and they tend to be tragic: the glory and the tyranny of love, losing your heart’s desire because of a Faustian bargain you’ve made. I’m starting to think about broader themes, too, such as seemingly insurmountable injustice. And I seem to be inspired by specific periods and places in history.

How were you introduced to genre fiction?

I am an eclectic reader. I started reading adult stuff very young. Edgar Allan Poe at eight, I think. It was a mix of everything, all kinds of genre as well as more mainstream and literary fiction. That’s probably one of the reasons I mix genres as a writer: as long as the story is great and the characters are rich and fully developed, that’s all that matters.


How do you enjoy being a writer and working within the publishing industry? Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?

For someone who has spent most of her adult life working for the government, where there is no profit motive, understanding the business side of publishing has been quite an experience. It’s not enough to have a great story, to have something that’s really well written if it doesn’t catch on with readers. You see so many really wonderful things that don’t find the readership they deserve and it’s heartbreaking.

I work on my writing every day, in addition to all the promotional things that writers must do. I constantly strive to be a better, more efficient writer. It’s something I learned from my day job, as an analyst: to make improvement a conscious decision. I’m not a fast writer by nature and that’s what I hope to work on in 2014: to do better early drafts so they don’t need so much revision. That probably makes me sound really dull and I’m afraid it’s true.


Books 1 & 2 – UK Covers

When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?

When I was very young, my sister and I (with whom I shared a bedroom) used to stay up very late into the night telling a never-ending story. We did this for years. She grew tired of it and I suppose that’s when I started writing little stories of my own. Funny, I recently learned from her daughter (all grown up) that she used to do the same thing with her cousin (my other sister’s oldest daughter) whenever they got together. They would make up stories together. It must be in the blood.


Books 1 & 2 – US Covers

What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?

That’s a tough question for me because I don’t think my books fall into any particular genre. They are similar to books like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, or The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, or (dare I say?) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger in that they are mainstream fiction with elements of various genres. In the case of The Immortal trilogy, I would say they’re mainstream fiction with historical, fantasy, romance and supernatural elements in them.


What other projects are you working on, and what do you have currently in the pipeline?

I just came up with the idea of a story that deals with witches in Colonial New England – having grown up in a historical area in Massachusetts and fascinated with witches, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to come up with a story! I may be in the honeymoon phase, but I’m really excited about it. This means putting aside – again – an idea I have for a pure historical (no magic) set in Georgian times and involving highwaymen. I have a pile of books for research or that one, waiting to be read.

What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?

I’m reading Entertaining Satan as research for the novel I described earlier and I hope to start Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate soon. Also finishing up The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt on audio because I like listening to audiobooks before bedtime. Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries is on deck, as well as Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, and Perfume by Patrick Suskind. And that’s just the books that have come in within the past few weeks. Honestly, there are so many books piled up here it’s a wonder I can get to the door.


What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?

For a few brief years in the 1980s, in Boston and Washington, D.C., I was a music journalist. I got to interview musicians like the Cars, Joan Jett, the Go-Gos and the Ramones.

What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?

I’m changing day jobs. It’s to a place where I used to work and so I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends again. However, since the traffic in the D.C. area is horrendous, it also means selling our house and moving, which will be an absolute nightmare.


The Taker and The Reckoning are out now in the UK (Random House) and US (Simon & Schuster). The Descent will be published in January 2014. Be sure to follow the author on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, as well as check out her website for more information as well.

Upcoming: “The Dark Blood of Poppies” by Freda Warrington (Titan)

Warrington-BW3-DarkBloodOfPoppiesI’m intrigued by Freda Warrington’s Blood Wine series. It was first released near the height of the vampire vogue – authors such as Anne Rice had established the genre as far more varied and ambitious that mere heaving bosoms and strained bodices. This year, Titan Books began re-issuing the series, which started with A Taste of Blood Wine (A Dance in Blood Velvet is due to hit shelves in October 2013). Last week, this cover for the third novel in the series was unveiled. And it’s another stunning, attention-grabbing one, too.

Here’s the original synopsis, from the 1996 edition (which I nabbed from the author’s website) – I don’t know if Titan will be changing it for their 2014 edition, but I assume it won’t be too different:

The ballerina Violette Lenoir has fallen victim to the bite of the vampire Charlotte. Her fire and energy have fuelled a terrifying change and a dreadful realisation; that Violette has become Lilith, the demon mother of all vampires.

Haunted both by what she has done and by Violette’s dark sensuality, Charlotte and her immortal lover Karl are drawn towards the dancer and the terrible destiny that has fallen on her shoulders.

But other, far more dangerous shadows are gathering around Violette. To the vampire Sebastian and to the dark heirs of Kristian, she threatens to wreak havoc with their plans to bring all of mankind under their dark wings.

Innocently embroiled in the endgame, courtesan extraordinaire Robyn Stafford finally meets her match as she is torn between the two ultimate lovers: Sebastian, and Violette …

As someone pointed out on Twitter, that is a very Black Metal cover – everything from the title to the model’s make-up does remind me of band photos from Terrorizer and Metal Hammer… It also has a smidgeon of Black Swan in there (ok, a fair bit…). I’m intrigued to read this series, and luckily I have the first book on my tottering TBR Mountain. I’ll hopefully get to it at some point in the not-too-distant future.

The Dark Blood of Poppies is due to be published by Titan Books in April 2014. A new, fourth novel in the series – The Dark Arts of Blood – is also meant to be coming out next year (October).