Guest Post: “Writing a Trilogy — Lessons Learned” by Tom Doyle

DoyleT-AuthorPicThe final book in my American Craft trilogy, War and Craft, has just been released. It’s like sending the last kid to college — bittersweet emotion with a practical “so now what?” Before I move on to my next project, I’d like to share with you a few of my personal observations about the process, particularly if you’re a new writer planning on writing a series.

First lesson: never plan on writing a series.

Yeah, sounds like a joke, but seriously, don’t do it–unless someone has already said that they’re going to pay you for it. When I wrote American Craftsmen, I had intentionally not planned for a series. I recommend this same self-discipline to all new writers — don’t engage in heavier worldbuilding than necessary for something which may never see the light of day. The odds are long against your selling any given book to a publisher, so every minute you spend creating further material in that book’s universe has a high probability of being wasted. The best thing you can do for yourself while trying to sell a book is to start writing a completely different one. Continue reading

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Interview with VIVIAN SHAW

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Vivian Shaw?

At the moment, an expat Brit living in Baltimore with her wife, the author Arkady Martine. I was born in Kenya to a couple of scientists, and my family moved a bunch of times when I was very young, following the trail of postdoc positions, but I’ve been in Maryland most of my life.

Your debut novel, Strange Practice, will be published by Orbit in July. It looks pretty interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The easiest way to explain it is probably, “Dr. Greta Helsing sees dead people, every day from ten to four and by appointment, at her Harley Street clinic.” Strange Practice is set in a world quite like our own, but with one crucial difference: monsters exist, and magic is real. Greta has inherited her father’s extremely specialized medical practice, catering solely to the supernatural, and gets a lot of satisfaction out of the job – she enjoys performing reconstructive surgery on mummies in particular. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE MIDNIGHT FRONT by David Mack (Tor)

MackD-DA1-MidnightFrontUSThis is the first novel in David Mack’s Dark Arts series, and I’m really looking forward to giving it a try. I think I’ve only read one other (urban) fantasy set during one of the World Wars — Andy Remic’s very good A Song For No Man’s Land — and I’m certainly interested in trying more. (Feel free to leave recommendations in the comments.) Here’s the synopsis for The Midnight Front:

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front — the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program — and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first — his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick — Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul — and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.

The Midnight Front will be published by Tor Books in January 2018, and will be available in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: NIGHTWISE and THE NIGHT DAHLIA by R.S. Belcher (Tor)

BelcherRS-N1-NightwiseUSR.S. Belcher‘s latest series only really grabbed my attention when I saw information for the second instalment, The Night Dahlia, which is set in Los Angeles (I’ve been on an LA-based fiction kick at the moment, for some reason — the title, I’m sure, is a nod to Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia). Ok, I’ll admit the cover for The Night Dahlia had a lot to do with grabbing my attention. The first novel, Nightwise, is due to be published in paperback in January 2018, and the second novel in April 2018.

Here’s the synopsis for Nightwise:

In the more shadowy corners of the world, frequented by angels and demons and everything in-between, Laytham Ballard is a legend. It’s said he raised the dead at the age of ten, stole the Philosopher’s Stone in Vegas back in 1999, and survived the bloodsucking kiss of the Mosquito Queen. Wise in the hidden ways of the night, he’s also a cynical bastard who stopped thinking of himself as the good guy a long time ago.

Now a promise to a dying friend has Ballard on the trail of an escaped Serbian war criminal with friends in both high and low places-and a sinister history of blood sacrifices. Ballard is hell-bent on making Dusan Slorzack pay for his numerous atrocities, but Slorzack seems to have literally dropped off the face of the Earth, beyond the reach of his enemies, the Illuminati, and maybe even the Devil himself. To find Slorzack, Ballard must follow a winding, treacherous path that stretches from Wall Street and Washington, D.C. to backwoods hollows and truckstops, while risking what’s left of his very soul…

BelcherRS-N2-NightDahliaUSAnd the synopsis for The Night Dahlia:

Laytham Ballard once protected humanity as part of the Nightwise, a secret order of modern-day mages dedicating to holding hellish supernatural forces at bay, but that was before a string of sadistic ritual murders shook everything he believed in—and sent him down a much darker path. One that has already cost him most of his soul, as well as everything he once held dear.

Now a powerful faerie mob boss has hired Ballard to find his lost-lost daughter, who went missing several years ago. The long-cold trail leads him across the globe, from the luxurious playgrounds of the rich and famous to the seedy occult underbelly of Los Angeles, where creatures of myth and legend mingle with street gangs and sex clubs, and where Ballard finds his own guilty past waiting for him around every shadowy corner. To find Caern Ankou, he will have to confront old enemies, former friends and allies, and a grisly cold case that has haunted him for years.

But is Caern still alive? And, perhaps more importantly, does she even want to be found?

Both novels will be published by Tor Books in North America and the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Guest Post: “Everything is Exhausting…” by Cassandra Khaw

KhawC-AuthorPicGetting off my butt to run is hard: I don’t like running. I’ve just eaten. I am going to get cramps. I have something else to do. It is far too late to run. I can always do it tomorrow. I’m tired.

Putting my shoes on run is hard: I know what is going to follow. It is too hot. It is too early. It is possibly unsafe to be on the streets. It is embarrassing to lumber within the sight of the neighbours. I am not unfit. I could do this tomorrow. I’m tired.

Staggering through those first five minutes of a run is hard: I don’t deserve to be in optimal condition. I have failed myself. There is no point to this literal exercise. What’s the use? I’m only going to get sidelined by something else again. I’m worthless. I should give up. I’m tired.

Everything is exhausting lately. Continue reading

Quick Review: WINTER OF THE GODS by Jordanna Max Brodsky (Orbit)

Is someone killing the gods in New York…?

Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.

Winter in New York: snow falls, lights twinkle, and a very disgruntled Selene DiSilva prowls the streets, knowing that even if she doesn’t look for trouble, it always finds her.

When a dead body is discovered sprawled atop Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull statue, it’s up to Selene to hunt down the perpetrators. Her ancient skills make her the only one who can track a conspiracy that threatens the very existence of the gods, Selene — once known as Artemis — among them.

Jordanna Max Brodsky’s debut novel, The Immortals was a great surprise last year: it brilliantly blended Greek mythology and crime fiction, imaginatively updating the former. It was one of my favourite novels of 2016. Winter of the Gods builds on the new mythology, and offers the gods a new, deadly challenge. Continue reading

Quick Q&A with PAUL CORNELL

220px-paul_cornellLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Paul Cornell?

A Dad, a writer, a fan.

You’ve got a number of projects on the horizon, so I thought I’d take them one at a time. First up, your new Lychford novella, The Lost Child of Lychford, which was recently published by Tor.com Publishing. It’s the second in the series, but how would you introduce the setting to a potential reader? And what can fans of the first book expect from the second?

In a modern-day little Cotswolds market town, three very different women are thrown together to defend their world against dark magic. There’s loads of warm comedy, but some real horror too. The second book starts at Christmas, and is a comfy portrait of a woman stressed out by the season… until the bad stuff starts to sneak in. Continue reading