Cover reveal: NIGHTLY OWL, FATAL RAVEN by Jessica McHugh

Coming in June 2018, a dystopian fantasy novel from talented and prolific author Jessica McHugh and published by Raw Dog Screaming Press. Yesterday was the grand cover reveal for this novel, which I’m very excited about. McHugh and RDSP are a match made in the most twisted and best of dreams.

“Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven combines speculative world-building and a deep appreciation of the works of Shakespeare. This is a Fantasy novel with a fully-realized world of brutal struggles but it is also crafted with lyricism.

While the female protagonist who fights to change a heartless and cruel world will be familiar to readers of Dystopian fiction, the brutality and bitter battles echo the Grimdark movement in Fantasy and add an epic feel to this gritty adventure.

McHugh does not shrink from portraying the ugly realties of war but there is a kernal of hope amid all the darkness. Betrayal, revenge, memory and transformation through knowledge are themes explored in the novel. Readers who enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paldin of Souls will be particularly interested in Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven.” — [Promotional Material]

The cover was designed by Jennifer Barnes, a co-founder of RDSP. Along with her husband, Jennifer does a huge amount of work to help make their publishing enterprise a success, and her contributions don’t always get the press or recognition they deserve. She’s done a great job on this cover, using a mixture of a dusk-like lightness with shadowy darkness to create just the right design/mood for capturing interest in the creepy and beautifully demented patterns of McHugh’s writing and vivid characters.

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Debuting 14th June 2018 • PRE-ORDER

Funerals are usually the end of the story, not the beginning.

Since the rise of The Council, an oligarchy of despots and deviants, the legendary Capesman undertakes daily soul collections from Cartesia’s wasteland cities and battlefields. He also frequents Malay Prison, where a vigilante named Shal plots her escape. Armed with a thirst for vengeance and a sharp Shakespearean tongue, Shal must navigate a maze of trauma to save Cartesia and protect her sister from the brutal machinations of Chancellor Doa.

It will require all of Shal’s strength and cunning to resurrect her former army, battle the betrayals of the past, and avenge her father’s death. Will she survive long enough to see the Council fall, or is the Capesman coming for her next?

 

About the Author: Jessica McHugh

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Jessica McHugh is a novelist and internationally produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-two books published in ten years, including her bizarro romp, The Green Kangaroos, her Post Mortem Press bestseller, Rabbits in the Garden, and her YA series, “The Darla Decker Diaries.”

Visit the Hook of a Book Facebook Event page for Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven to view videos by McHugh and enter a contest to win a copy of her new novel.

Debuting 14th June 2018 • PRE-ORDER

 

Kickstarter for 2084: An Anthology of Eleven Science Fiction Short Stories

I’m pleased to help announce the start of a Kickstarter campaign for a new SF anthology inspired by Orwell from Unsung Stories titled 2084: An Anthology of Eleven Science Fiction Stories (Print ISBN: 978-1-907389-50-4; Ebook ISBN: 978-1-907389-53-5)

To my recollection I previously reviewed two of their publications,  The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley (which I really loved) and Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking (which I didn’t enjoy as much, though others did). I have a new novella by them on deck to review, and I’m really looking forward to this collection, which will feature a new story by Whiteley, as well as stories from many other notable SF authors.


From the publisher’s press release:

“Unsung Stories have gathered eleven leading science fiction writers who have looked ahead to 2084, as Orwell did in 1948, for a new anthology – writers such as David Hutchinson, Christopher Priest, Lavie Tidhar, James Smythe, Jeff Noon and Anne Charnock, who are already famous for their visions of the near future.

As the events of 2017 reveal an ever more complex relationship between people and their governments, classic dystopian literature is proving its relevance once again. But as readers turn to classics, like Nineteen Eighty-Four, writers are also looking to our future, and what may lie there.

Speaking about the anthology, George Sandison, Managing Editor at Unsung Stories, said, “We knew when we first started work on the anthology that the idea was timely, but the start of 2017 has really hammered home how important writing like this is.

“Dystopian fiction gives us a space in which to explore today’s fears, and the nightmares of society. For many people the events of the last eighteen months have brought those dark futures much closer, so it’s inevitable that we turn to literature to help us understand why.

“The ideas at work in 2084 range from the familiar to the fantastic, but all are bound by a current and relevant sense of what we could lose, what’s at stake. As with Orwell’s work, decades from now, we will be looking back to our stories, to better understand today.”

2084 will be published by Unsung Stories in July 2017.”

The full contributor list is:

  • Desirina Boskovich
  • Anne Charnock (author of Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind and A Calculated Life)
  • Ian Hocking (author of Deja Vu)
  • Dave Hutchinson (author of The Fractured Europe Sequence)
  • Cassandra Khaw (author of Hammers on Bone and Rupert Wong: Cannibal Chef)
  • Oliver Langmead (author of Dark Star and Metronome)
  • Jeff Noon (author of Vurt, Automated Alice, Pollen, and more)
  • Christopher Priest (author of The Prestige, The Dream Archipelago, The Gradual, and many more)
  • James Smythe (author of The Australia Trilogy, The Echo, The Explorer, and more)
  • Lavie Tidhar (author of A Man Lies Dreaming, Osama and Central Station)
  • Aliya Whiteley (author of The Beauty and The Arrival Of Missives)

Head over to the Kickstarter  page now to help support this anthology and take advantage of backer rewards! Also be sure to share the news with your social networks.

Cover reveal: STEEL MAGIC by J.L. Gribble

I have been away for FAR too long, but I’m pleased to come back to making updates and posting new reviews starting with a cover reveal for a book from Raw Dog Screaming Press that I’m really excited to dig into:

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Debuting 6th July 2016 • PRE-ORDER

Funerals are usually the end of the story, not the beginning.

Newly graduated warrior-mages Toria Connor and Kane Nalamas find themselves the last remaining mages in the city when a mage school teacher mysteriously falls ill and dies. But taking over the school themselves isn’t in the cards. They’re set to become professional mercenaries-if they make it through the next 18 months as journeymen first.

The debate over whether to hunt mutated monsters in the Wasteland or take posh bodyguard jobs is put on hold when a city elder hires them to solve the mystery of the disappearing mages. Toria and Kane’s quest brings them to the British colonial city of New Angouleme, where their initial investigation reveals that the problem is even greater than they feared.

But when a friend is kidnapped, they’ll have to travel to the other side of the globe to save her, save themselves, and save magic itself.

I previously read the first book, STEEL VICTORY, in Gribble’s Steel Empire series. It is a very entertaining urban fantasy / alternate history, and I recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet. Gribble’s characters stood out particularly strongly for me. So I’m eager to see what new directions they go in development.

Debuting 6th July 2016 • PRE-ORDER

About the Cover Artist:  Bradley Sharp

Bradley Sharp was born in 1977 in Oxfordshire, UK. From a young age he filled many sketch books, so it only made sense to study Graphic Communication at Nene University, where he received a BA Honors degree in 1997.

But the real world called Sharp away from academics, so he traveled around the globe a couple of times, working as a graphic designer. Now he makes a living by designing magazine spreads, but freelances with vector illustrations, allowing him to create something far-removed from what he does in his nine-to-five job.

Sharp finds vector to be an easy tool and believes anyone can use it. “I’d say my artwork is nothing more than glorified doodling. I like the logical inconsistencies of surrealism and find inspiration from many places such as music or the science fiction genre. Dog Star’s novels lend themselves well to my style. I look forward to working with DSB in the future, and hope fans will like the imagery as much as they enjoy the words.” Find Sharp’s work online at his website.

About the Author: J.L. Gribble

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By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online on her websiteFacebook , on Twitter, and on Instagram.

 

Newly arrived bundle for AceRocStars Street Team

4-up on 6-18-15 at 21.12 #5 (compiled)

The kind folks at Ace/Roc books sure are kind to their street team. I had a flurry of books arrive the other day, including a bunch of microbiology titles and this wonderful pack of SFF. Look for reviews on many of these as their publication dates come.

Are there any that you are particularly looking forward to? There may be a giveaway for some in the near future 🙂

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Chapelwood by Cherie Priest
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Sterling
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
The Terrans: First Salik War by Jean Johnson

Cover Reveal – THE UNDERSIDE OF THE RAINBOW: Poetry by B.E. Burkhead

I’m pleased to take part in the cover reveal for this gorgeous upcoming Raw Dog Screaming Press poetry collection by B.E. Burkhead. Look for it in July.

Unveiling the Rainbow

Artist Steven Archer has created a raw, textured cover to match B.E. Burkhead’s gritty, and unapologetic realism. In this poetry collection Burkhead shows readers what happens when they take off their rose-colored glasses and look at the world around them.

Instead of fields of freshly grown flowers, he writes of alleys with broken bottles and hypodermic needles, no happily-ever-afters, just blunt and honest truths, sometimes with endings, sometimes without. Just as life doesn’t hand out answers, Burkhead doesn’t sugarcoat its truths.

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Coming in July

You can pre-order this collection now!

“Underside took me on an unexpected emotional journey I relished long after reading. To me that’s the mark of a damn fine collection–and one that will remain in my library forever.” —Jessica McHugh, author of The Green Kangaroos

“There is a blatant honesty, an abject truth in B. E. Burkhead’s words, which is not buoyantly hateful, but bleakly hopeful.”—G. Arthur Brown, author of Kitten

About the Artist

Steven Archer is an artist and musician living in Baltimore, MD. When not recording, DJing, or producing art, he and his wife, author Donna Lynch, tour with their dark electronic rock band Ego Likeness. He has a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC and has shown his work at galleries and other venues throughout the east coast.  His work has also been shown internationally in the form of album art and magazine illustrations. He is the author and illustrator of the children’s book Luna Maris. For more information about Ego Likeness, please visitwww.egolikeness.com. Steven’s solo electronic project can be found at www.hopefulmachines.net.

About the Author

Born dead to a barren woman, B. E. Burkhead is a poet, writer and artist. He lives on the vestigial tail of Maryland with his wife, son and an army of starving cats. The Underside of the Rainbow is his first book of collected poetry.

[Title, artist, and author information from RDSP]

Free eBook Debut Offer for Illustrated Microbiology Children’s Book

I wanted to let readers know about this beautifully illustrated children’s book that is having its debut as an eBook today, and is on special FREE download offer for this week! This and a newer volume are in my pile for a future posting on Small Things Considered, but I was able to get the electronic version to preview in the meantime to check out before letting you know about it.

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The Squid, The Vibrio, and the Moon
By Ailsa Wild and Gregory Crocetti
Illustrated by Aviva Reed
Scale Free Network – 1s January 2014
ISBN 9780992587208 – 36 Pages – eBook

If you don’t know about the bacteria species Vibrio fischeri and its symbiotic relationship with the Hawaiian bobtailed squid, then this is a perfect introduction to the fascinating pair – whether you are a child or not. It is told in two parts, first from the perspective of the bacteria and then the point of view of the squid in a way that explains how the two species are mutually beneficial in their pairing. A science section that follows the story goes into greater detail of the microbiology.

I’ll write up some more on this in the future along with the authors/illustrator’s new book Zobi and the Zooxon coral symbiosis.

For the promotional period this week of 1st – 7th May 2015 follow this link to get your FREE copy of The Squid, the Vibrio, and the Moon, in iBook or GooglePlay format, or (if like me you prefer the physical beast) order a printed copy.

Proud to be part of the Ace/Roc Star Street Team

I was fortunate to be chosen to be a member of the Ace/Roc Star Street Team. What this means is that I’ll be getting copies of recent and upcoming titles from Ace Books and Roc Books, who are part of the Penguin Publishing group. Aside from reviews, there may also be some goodies and potential giveaways for followers of Reading 1000 Lives. So keep your eyes open for future news.

I appreciate this opportunity because I haven’t read much from their catalogs in the past, and have been uncertain of where to start off, particularly with so many giant series. So I hope readers of this site will appreciate my point of view as someone who isn’t already a fan of a successful author or who can honestly say how well a novel may work on its own.

And of course this gives me the chance to jump right into debut authors or new series and get the word out, whether my reaction is positive or negative. If you have a favorite author from Ace/Roc I’d love to hear about it, or a title you are looking forward to. I won’t be able to read all they send, so your thoughts could help with decisions.

Here is the first mailing that I received:

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I’ve just started Day Shift, by Charlaine Harris, so look for a review of that soon. Speaking of, Harris is going on tour for the novel’s release, so check out her full schedule below to see if she’ll be in a city near you!

April 24th-26th
Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo
Chicago, IL

May 5th @ 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
7700 West Northwest Hwy
Dallas, TX

May 6th @ 6:30 PM
Murder By the Book
2342 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX

May 7th @ 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
2900 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA

May 8th-10th
World Horror Convention
Atlanta, GA

May 11th @ 7:00 PM
Joseph-Beth
161 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, KY

May 13th-17th
Romantic Times Booklovers Convention
Dallas, TX

May 27th-29th
BookExpo America
New York, NY

May 30th & 31st
BookCon
New York, NY

Books of Note: THE SALT ROADS, by Nalo Hopkinson and STEEL VICTORY, by J.l. Gribble

As I now get back into catching up on reviews of things I have read, I wanted to mention two books that I’m excited about, but haven’t gotten to read yet.

The first was first released back in 2004, but just had an e-reader release from Open Road Media at the very end of January: THE SALT ROADS, by Nalo Hopkinson. I’ve heard nothing but utter praise for Hopkinson, including from writer Juno Diaz, so I’ve been looking forward to reading her work and regretted having to turn down the chance to review it. But I still feel comfortable in recommending it as something worth looking into if you missed it.

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From Open Road Media:

Nalo Hopkinson’s third novel invokes the goddess of love in the name of redemption

Hopkinson’s time-traveling, genre-spanning novel weaves a common thread of spiritualism and hope through three intertwined stories of women possessed by Ezili, the goddess of love, as she inspires, inhabits, and guides them through trying personal and historical moments. Jeanne Duval is a talented entertainer suffering from the ravages of a sexually transmitted disease; Mer is a slave and talented doctor who bears witness as Saint Domingue throws off the yoke of colonial rule in the early nineteenth century; and Meritet is a woman of the night who finds religion her own way. Though the three are separated by many miles and centuries, a powerful bond draws them together.

Epic, wrenching, and passionate, The Salt Roads is laced with graceful, lyrical prose. Hopkinson has crafted a one-of-a-kind novel that spans hundreds of years and multiple countries to tell a mystical, heartrending story of self-worth, respect, and salvation.”


The second title I’m really looking forward to is STEEL VICTORY, an upcoming title now available for preorder from Dog Star Books (Raw Dog Screaming Press), written by J.L. Gribble. Out in June, today was the cover reveal and exclusive spotlight on the novel at Dirge Magazine. It looks fantastic with another superb cover for this small press by Brad Sharp. I look forward to getting my paws on a copy.

Steel Victory

From Raw Dog Screaming Press:

“One hundred years ago, the vampire Victory retired from a centuries-long mercenary career. She settled in Limani, the independent city-state acting as a neutral zone between the British and Roman colonies on the New Continent.

Twenty years ago, Victory adopted a human baby girl, who soon showed signs of magical ability.

Today, Victory is a city councilwoman, balancing the human and supernatural populations within Limani. Her daughter Toria is a warrior-mage, balancing life as an apprentice mercenary with college chemistry courses.

Tomorrow, the Roman Empire invades.”

“Cyber Monday” eBook deals from Open Road Media

You’ll likely hear about lots of book deals today, but this is one that may not make it across your radar, so I thought I would share the info:

Open Road Media has provided me with many great Mystery, SciFi/Fantasy, and Literary fiction eBooks (and physical copies) for review in the past, but these just brush the surface of the large catalog of quality works they have available, particularly many wonderful reissues.

Their normal prices are quite fair, but if Cyber Monday splurging is your thing and you are looking to discover/rediscover some books at a REALLY cheap price, today is the day, with more than 2,000 Open Road ebooks on sale. Today only, readers can get amazing deals of up to 80% off regular price.

You can find my reviews on the books that I’ve gotten from them under the Open Road Media tag category. One addition, My review of Black Swan, White Raven is still coming, but it and most of the other volumes in Ellen Datlow’s and Terri Windling’s collections of fairytale-inspired fantasy stories is included in this big sale. I really loved the first of these, and will be taking advantage of this sale to pick up the rest.

I also just noticed several of Sherman Alexie’s works in the literary fiction section. If you haven’t ever read him, please get one of these and remedy the deficiency. Now.

To start browsing, you can find their editorial selections of best picks here.

Finally you can also browse selections at your retailer of choice, such as on Apple, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

Bad Things in Threes, Thanksgiving, and a New Season to Come

I apologize for too long a period of inactivity here, particular to publishers who made their books available, but I haven’t gotten reviews up as of yet. They are coming.

They say bad things happen in threes. My mother passed away several months back and since then two additional family deaths came, all as I have been writing scientific manuscripts, completing research, starting the search process for a faculty position, and all sorts of other stuff.

But Thanksgiving is now upon us here in the US and I’m looking forward to the start of a new season and soon a new year. I wanted to take the opportunity to say a broad thank you to followers, to the many publishers and authors who have made their work available, and to the connections to material provided by Goodreads, NetGalley, Edelweiss, and Blogging for Books.

By year’s end I’ll have read a little over 200 books, many of those ARCs or newly published works, and in early January I plan on posting my favorite picks from the year.

Reading is far quicker and easier than writing. I’ve managed to keep up on the pile of reading, but have gotten quite backlogged in reviews, which I hope to clear/catch up on in the next weeks. Here is a list of reviews to come from my completed reading. Perhaps to whet your appetite, but also for my own organization!

– The Blood of Angels, by Johanna Sinisalo (to be featured on Skiffy & Fanty)
– Of Bone and Thunder
, by Chris Evans
Cheese and Microbes, Edited by Catherine Donnelly (to be featured on Small Things Considered)
– Solaris Rising 3, Edited by Ian Whates (may be featured on Skiffy & Fanty?)
– The Zone of Interest, by Martin Amis
– California, by Edan Lepucki
– 300,000,000, by Blake Butler
– The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, 2014, Edited by Paula Guran
– Black Swan, White Raven, Edited by Ellen Datlow
– Mr. Wicker, by Maria Alexander
– Confronting Contagion: Our Evolving Understanding of Disease, by Melvin Santer (to be featured on Small Things Considered)
Last Train to Babylon, by Charlee Fam
Gifts for the One Who Comes After, by Helen Marshall
Fire in the Blood (Forgotten Realms), by Erin M. Evans
Crude Carrier, by Rex Burns
They Do the Same Things Different There, by Robert Shearman
The Fifth Vertex, by Kevin Hoffmann
The Genome, by Sergei Lukyanenko (to be featured on Skiffy & Fanty)
– The Galaxy Game, by Karen Lord
Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara, Edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey
Near Enemy, by Adam Sternbergh

Phew, well I guess I better get writing. Stay tuned for this all and more still to come from current/future reads. Thank you again, everyone.