Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #173 - Luna: Wolf Moon

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -


A Dragon is dead.

Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed.

The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward - virtually a hostage - of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished off the surface of the moon.

Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point - that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey - to Earth.

In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.

Luna: Wolf Moon continues Ian McDonald's saga of the Five Dragons.

I have been desperately waiting for news of this book. Luna: New Moon was a surprise top ten read for me this year in that I absolutely loved it. I can only hope Luna: Wolf Moon, the concluding part of the duology, is half as good. Either way, it's going to be one of the few books I allow myself to buy in 2017!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Guest Post: Windows Into The Soul - Tim Major


My first novel, YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, is about a house. 

Well, it isn’t. It’s about a man called Daniel Faint who has stolen a time machine. He’s wracked with remorse about events in his past, and he hopes to travel back in time to put them right. It’s about his disorientation as he tests the machine, his growing certainty that he’s being watched – perhaps by the locals of an unfamiliar town, perhaps by himself from the future, perhaps by his dead brother.

But it’s about a house.

The starting-point for YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, when it was intended to be a short story rather than a novel, was an article about people who had no permanent home, who instead acted as housesitters-cum-curators for vast properties in undesirable locations – warehouses, abandoned retail parks. It struck me that such a setup would be ideal for somebody intent on remaining hidden. No ties, a low profile. In the novel, Daniel Faint believes he’s being pursued, and housesitting a remote Cumbrian manor provides him with cover.

It’s about a specific house, too. My first office job was based in a large country manor that had once been a hotel. When I started, it had only been partially converted, with beds and TVs still in the rooms that hadn’t yet become offices. The swimming pool and golf course were available for use. Peacocks patrolled the grounds and screamed outside every window. It was strange and disorienting and kind of magical.


It was only recently that I realised that houses are central to most of my stories. My first published novella, CARUS & MITCH, is set entirely within the walls of a rural house, based on the home of a family friend from my childhood. BLIGHTERS features a giant alien slug confined to a Cumbrian bothy. My Mars stories revolve around the construction of sand-sculpted buildings, modelled on houses from the colonists’ memories. An as-yet-unpublished YA novel features a virtual-reality replica of the house I grew up in. Another project, still in the planning stages, features a house capable of independent thought.


There’s something practical in this preoccupation, I think. Gaining a clear mental image of a location goes a long way towards ‘finding’ a story, in the same way that pinning down the characteristics of a protagonist is vital. Moreover, characters are shaped, in part, by their surroundings. Your home isn’t just an expression of yourself. It goes the other way, too. It changes you. It makes you.

So, YOU DON’T BELONG HERE may be about time travel, paranoia, and disorientation. But it’s about a house. And it’s a house that, once it wraps its walls around Daniel Faint, refuses to let go.


Tim Major's time-travel thriller novel, YOU DON'T BELONG HERE (Snowbooks) is available now. He has also released two novellas, BLIGHTERS (Abaddon, 2016) and CARUS & MITCH (Omnium Gatherum, 2015) – the latter was shortlisted for a This Is Horror Award. His short stories have featured in Interzone, BFS Horizons and numerous anthologies. He is the Editor of the SF magazine, The Singularity, and blogs at www.cosycatastrophes.wordpress.com.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

November New Release Giveaway!


Welcome to the November 2016 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on November 30th, 2016. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here

All you have to do is choose any new release published in November and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Giveaway & Excerpt - The Wraiths Of War by Mark Morris


First and foremost, I'm going to admit my love of some of Mark's earlier work! I remember reading Toady, his first book, way back when, absolutely loving it and recommending it to anyone regardless of whether they enjoyed horror novels. Since then I've dipped in and out of his books whenever I've realised that he's released something new. Imagine my pleasure when I found out he was writing a new trilogy for one of my favorite publishers, the last of which was published by Titan on October 14th. To celebrate you lucky folks get to read a sneaky excerpt from the final book, The Wraiths Of War, and if you like it there's a chance to win a copy of The Wolves Of London (book #1 in the trilogy) down at the bottom! My review of The Wolves of London will be up on Thursday as part of my R.I.P. reading and make sure to check out the rest of the tour!


If you're not a horror/dark fantasy fan then maybe skip over the gory bits below!

The Wraiths Of War (Obsidian Heart #3) 

As if Fate were mocking me, the Germans chose that very moment to start firing. I made myself as flat as possible, closing my eyes as my cheek smacked into the mud. At first I assumed the shots were nothing but routine - now and again in the dead of night, those on sentry duty, whether on our side or theirs, let off a volley just to prove they were doing their duty, and to let the enemy know they were still around and alert - but when bullets started splatting into the mud somewhere to my left, I realised I must have been spotted. Perilous though it was to move, I knew it was more perilous still to just lie there, because sooner or later I would be hit.

Trying to still the frantic terror of my thoughts, I lifted my head a fraction and looked around, searching for a place to hide or something I could use as cover. Perhaps ten yards ahead of me I spotted what looked like a shell crater - a black depression in the ground rimmed by a ridge of earth where the mud had been forced upwards by the impact. I waited for the initial burst of gunfire to subside, knowing there would be a slight pause between one volley and the next, and then, my ears throbbing, I scrambled up into a semi-crouch, ran forward and dived into the shell crater.

Although I didn't have much choice, I was all too aware that throwing myself into an unknown hole in No Man's Land was a move born of utter desperation. Full of future technology I might have been, byt I knew that if I landed on the jagged remains of a shell and slashed my belly open, then no amount of nanites could repair me. I knew too that if the hole were more than, say six feet deep and full of thick, muddy water then the likelihood was I would be sucked under and drown.

Luckily, though, the hole turned out to be only four or five feet deep added to which I had a soft landing. Not so luckily, the soft landing was a dead and rotting German soldier. How long he had been there I had no idea, but he stank to high Heaven and was crawling with maggots. He was lying on his back, his head - what was left of it - partially submerged in a pool of black water.

I landed across his midriff, part of which promptly broke with a gristly snap. Worse than that though, was the feel of his flesh through his uniform. Decomposition had caused slippage, which meant that the violent pressure of my body resulted in the flesh, which had become soft like old bananas, sliding away from the bone beneath. In my revulsion, I unthinkingly put my left hand on his chest to lever myself up and away from him - whereupon his rib cage cracked like a lattice of dry sticks and my hand plunged into a cold, stinking pulp of rotting internal organs.

I clapped my free hand, which was caked in mud but not guts, over the bottom half of my face to stop myself from screaming. Not that it was likely the enemy would have heard me. Above my head, loud enough to make the bones of my skull ach, the Germans were still blazing away. Ordinarily I would have covered my ringing ears and kept my head down until it was all over, but in the circumstances the gunfire seemed oddly divorced from me. Gagging, I withdrew my hand from the dead German's innards with a slurping plop, then plunged it into the pool of muddy water between his booted feet.

The next few minutes were spent heaving and shuddering with reaction. I couldn't tell whether the appalling stench that seemed to have wrapped itself round my head like a warm, damp towel, was coming from the dead German or my own hand. Certainly the thought of using that gut-smeared hand to eat, or even scratch myself, in the immediate future made me gaf anew. As did the sight of the fat white maggots wriggling with glee over the dead man's body, some of which I had to brush off my own clothes, such was their eagerness to make friends.

About The Author

 Mark Morris became a full-time writer in 1988 on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and a year later saw the release of his first novel, Toady. He has since published a further sixteen novels, among which are Stitch, The Immaculate, The Secret of Anatomy, Fiddleback, The Deluge and four books in the popular Doctor Who range.

Website | Twitter




Giveaway

If you live in the UK, Ireland and Europe you can have a chance to win a copy of The Wolves Of London, the first book in the trilogy, simply by leaving a Twitter handle or email address in the coments! 

 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Spooktacular Giveaway 2016!


Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds! The hop runs from now through to midnight on October 31, 2016. The spooktacular prize up for grabs is a spooky, creepy book of your choice (either YA or Adult), up to the value of $15, from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are lots of blogs taking part in the Spooktacular hop so check out the list below for more chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Guest Post & Giveaway: How To Write A Sci-Fi World - Andy Briggs


How to write a sci-fi world

When I was first told the subject of this blog I got quite excited, then I thought, is The Inventory really sci-fi? Now, if you’ve read the book then you would probably wonder why I said that. I suppose the answer is I had always thought of The Inventory as belonging to a sub-genre: the techno-thriller.
     
And that got me thinking what makes good science fiction. For me, it boils down to believability. If the world, no matter how fantastic, has elements that we recognize – from characters to locations – then they become relatable to the reader. Authors such as Philip K Dick and Issac Asimov had the ability to create amazing sci-fi and wrap it up in a story and world that somehow feels believable. So I think that veneer between “real” and sci-fi is where the techno-thriller lives – and in the case of the Inventory, it bleeds into a full-fledged sci-fi world.
     
My first rule of what belongs in the Inventory was that the invention had to have a real scientific ability to exist. Now, I’m no scientist and my knowledge stretches as far as reading New Scientist and the wonderful Wired Magazine, so I will expand that to the ability to have a fudged scientific reason behind it. Thankfully we have quantum physics for that! So, when my bad guys produce a portable hole, it isn’t something out of Wile E. Coyote, it’s based on wormhole technology. That’s where the fun begins for me, creating a world that seems almost believable but is filled with marvels that could just possibly exist. Maybe.

The second part of the way I wanted to create my world was to ensure that the technology was there regardless if it was useful to the plot. For example, I love James Bond movies but he always seems to have the precise gadget on his person to deal with the peril he faces later in the movie. 

    In IRON FIST our heroes were surrounded by all manner of gadgets that would land them out of the scrape they were in. The fun came from the fact they had no idea how to use it properly – in fact, half the reason the gizmo was in the Inventory in the first place was because it didn’t quite work as expected. For GRAVITY they no longer have the choice of technology they once did, so have to use whatever is left… which means it’s often a need to improvise.

At the heart of all good sci-fi is the notion of something we’d all like to have, see, or know it’s true… that is, of course, until it horribly goes wrong. For example, yes the all-seeing surveillance in 1984 means, in theory, that we’re safe. The amazing robots in I, Robot are something we’d all like to have, helping us in our daily lives… that is until they become killers. 

It’s this promise of better days ahead (no matter how brief) that gives sci-fi a pulsing sense of wish fulfillment that we all crave… often backing it up with a healthy moral dose of dystopia. By its very nature, the Inventory is exactly that – a collection of the world’s greatest technology all under one roof. It’s an achievement of mankind that should be celebrated… instead, it’s hidden away. That is because some of it doesn’t work so well, or the dream died when the implications sank in. For example, hoverboots. I would love a pair of hoverboots – but then again I hate people who suddenly stop in the middle of the pavement and I don’t want those idiots stopping while I’m flying fifty feet above the ground at high speed. Hoverboots now suddenly don’t seem so appealing. If my books were set in a dystopian future (rather than a dysfunctional present) then the Inventory would be cast as a place where dreams come to die.

The final strand of great sci-fi is escapism. On face value that may seem at odds to my first point about believability, but it should go hand-in-hand. Look at one of the greatest sci-fi franchises ever: Star Wars… and I’m talking about the originals, y’know, proper Star Wars. Luke Skywalker is a farm kid who dreams of adventure. Only when he escapes from his home planet does that wish come true. He starts as a believable character – somebody stuck at home and tired of everyday life – and then offers escapism, which turns Skywalker into the galaxy’s greatest hero.

    It’s this combination of relatability, believability, and escapism that makes sci-fi such an interesting genre, allowing both characters and readers to explore – not on the edges of the universe – but beyond, into realms hitherto unimagined…

About the book 

Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far!

About The Author

 
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school, and library events.

Website | Twitter 



 Giveaway

Fill out the rafflecopter to win a copy of either Gravity or Iron Fist (which I reviewed here). Open internationally as long as you live somewhere that the Book Depository ships to!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
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