Sneak Peek: The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway

The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway Read an excerpt from The Unnoticeables, a funny and frightening urban fantasy by Robert Brockway.

ONE

Unknown. Unnamed.

I met my guardian angel today. She shot me in the face.

I’m not much for metaphor. So when I say “guardian angel,” I don’t mean some girl with big eyes and swiveling hips, who I put on a ridiculous pedestal. I mean that she was an otherworldly being assigned by some higher power to watch over me. And when I say “shot me in the face,” I don’t mean she “blew me away,” or “took me by surprise.” I mean she manifested a hand of pure, brilliant white energy, pulled out an old weather-beaten Colt Navy revolver, and put a bullet through my left eyeball.

I am not dead. I am something far, far worse than dead. Or at least I’m turning into it.

Continue reading

Sneak Peek: Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Saves the World by Carrie VaughnPlease enjoy this excerpt from Kitty Saves the Word, the final book in the beloved Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn.

Chapter 1

MY STUDIO space felt like a favorite pair of jeans, worn and comfortable, maybe disreputable, but while wearing them I was sure I could conquer the world. Here behind my microphone, monitor and status lights glowing, I was invincible.

“Welcome to The Midnight Hour, the show that isn’t afraid of the dark or the creatures who live there. Thanks for joining me this evening. I’m hoping to have a rollicking good time, so let’s get going.”

Over the years since I’d started working at KNOB after college, and since I’d launched my radio show, we’d replaced the chairs, upgraded equipment, updated screening procedures, and syndicated to almost a hundred markets across the country. Details had changed, but this still felt like home. It would always feel like home, I hoped. We still played CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” as the intro. My sound guy, Matt, still engineered the whole show from his booth. I could see him through the booth window, head bent over the board. A big guy with short black hair and a laid-back attitude, he’d been with me almost from the beginning, as soon as the calls got to be too much for me to handle and we syndicated and suddenly had a mountain of technical issues. The show and I wouldn’t have made it this far without him. I should probably tell him that.

“My guest this evening is a regular on the show, my good friend Dr. Elizabeth Shumacher, who heads up the Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology at the NIH, and my go-to guru for cutting-edge science and research on the conditions we know as vampirism and lycanthropy. Welcome back to the show, Dr. Shumacher.”

Continue reading

Tor Books Announces Programming for Phoenix Comic-Con 2014

Once again Tor (Booth# 646) continues our wildly popular *in-booth signings and giveaways, offering you a chance to meet your favorite authors up close and personal and pick up free books.

Friday, June 6th

Saturday, June 7th

  • 2:00 pm Tor Booth (#646) Signing: John Scalzi, Lock In
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Creating Your Fantasy World
    Peter Orullian
  • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Microsoft XBox Panel
    Peter Orullian

Sunday, June 8th

  • 12:00 pm Tor Booth (#646) Signing: Cathrynne Valente, Deathless
  • 2:00 pm Tor Booth (#646) Signing: Melanie Rawn, Touchstone

Make sure to follow @Torbooks on Twitter for up to date information and last minute events!

*All Tor Booth signings are on a first come first serve basis and while supplies lasts. Limit one book per person.

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Eyes to See by Joseph Nassise

About Eyes to SeeA Jeremiah Hunt Supernatual Thriller

In Joseph Nassise’s Eyes to See, an urban fantasy that charts daring new territory in the field, Jeremiah Hunt has been broken by a malevolent force that has taken his young daughter and everything else of value in his life: his marriage, his career, his reputation. Desperate to reclaim what he has lost, Hunt finally turns to the supernatural for justice.

Abandoning all hope for a normal life, he enters the world of ghosts and even more dangerous entities from beyond the grave. Sacrificing his normal sight so that he can see the souls of the dead and the powers that stalk his worst nightmares, Hunt embarks upon a strange new career—a pariah among the living; a scourge among the dead; doomed to walk between the light of day and the deepest darkness beyond night.

His love for his departed daughter sustains him when all is most hopeless, but Hunt is cursed by something more evil than he can possibly imagine. As he descends into the maelstrom of his terrifying quest, he discovers that even his deepest fears are but prelude to yet darker deeds by a powerful entity from beyond the grave…that will not let him go until it has used him for its own nefarious purposes.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends December 17)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

Goodreads Sweepstakes: The Eldritch Conspiracy by Cat Adams

About The Eldritch Conspiracy: Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren.

Not every bride needs a bridesmaid who can double as a bodyguard. But Celia’s cousin Adriana is no ordinary bride: she’s a Siren princess, and she’s marrying the king of a small but politically important European country. She’s getting death threats from fanatics who want to see the whole Siren race wiped out — including Celia herself, who is half Siren.

Luckily, Celia is on duty when a trip to a bridal salon is interrupted by an assassination attempt, so everyone survives. When Adriana returns to the Siren homeland to try to prevent a coup, Celia is free to hunt for the terrorists and the vile mage who is helping them (while keeping her eyes open for the perfect maid-of-honor dress).

Assuming the bride and groom both live to see their wedding day, this will be one royal wedding no one will ever forget.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends October 8)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

A Killer Around Every Corner

Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson

Written by Suzanne Johnson

In his book Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans, author Winston Groom says of my adopted hometown: “New Orleans is so romantic you leave it either crying or drunk.” (And, I might add, frequently both.) He also points out that, in 1814, it had the nation’s highest murder rate. Sadly, it’s a distinction the city has maintained throughout its history.

Which meant that when I went in search of the perfect New Orleans killer to resurrect via necromancy in Elysian Fields, I had ample choices.

There was Delphine Lalaurie, who in the 1830s tortured out-of-favor members of her house staff in her attic. Let’s just say sex changes and transplanted body parts were involved. Delphine creeped me out, so I decided to avoid her. Besides, the LaLaurie Mansion on Royal Street is said to be the most haunted spot in New Orleans. I don’t want her ghost hunting me down.

Next, I looked at a guy who met his true love in the French Quarter. They were blissfully happy…until the point where he chopped her up, boiled parts of her on the stove, roasted others in the oven…and maybe had a snack before leaping off a building. I know New Orleans is known for its fine dining, but one has to draw the line somewhere. Mine, apparently, gets drawn at the border of body-part roasting. Plus, like our friend Delphine, he wasn’t democratic enough in his choice of victims.

Then there were multiple sets of vampire murders, most notably in 1933 and again in 1994, when nine victims were found in the vicinity of the French Quarter with slashed throats and yet a noticeable absence of blood. In the 1933 case, witnesses even reported a tall figure leaning over one of the bodies and then leaping effortlessly over a 12-foot wall. And, of course, he was wearing a black cape.

Decisions, decisions.

Finally, I settled on the Axeman of New Orleans. In 1918-19, a series of murders-by-ax were committed throughout New Orleans. The police were clueless, people were panicked, and the Axeman taunted them all from the pages of the Times-Picayune. In a letter dated “Hell, March 13, 1919,” the murderer claimed to be “a fell demon from the hottest hell.” He taunted the police, who had been “so utterly stupid as to amuse not only me but His Satanic Majesty.” (Glad to know His Satanic Majesty has a good sense of humor since I’m resurrecting his axe-wielding minion.)

Axeman also announced that the following Tuesday “at 12:15 earthly time,” he planned to visit New Orleans again, but would spare every home where jazz music was playing. The jazz spewing from homes all over the city was said to be deafening.

In the end, the Axeman of New Orleans provided the perfect villain to resurrect for a fantasy novel. He was never identified; odd enough to be interesting; megalomanical enough to be excited about returning to the scene of his crimes a century later; and narcissistic enough to test the control of even the strongest necromancer. Because if you can’t have an out-of-control undead serial killer, what’s the point?

…………………………

From the Tor/Forge August 19th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

…………………………

More from the August 19th Tor/Forge newsletter:

How Ya Gonna Keep ‘em Down on the Farm Once They’ve Seen Paree?

Box Office Poison by Phillilpa Bornikova

Written by Phillipa Bornikova

The lyrics to that old World War I song gave me the idea for a plot point in Box Office Poison, the next installment of my urban fantasy series. My universe has the usual mix of vampires, werewolves, and elves (or, as I call them, Álfar, which is a fun Icelandic word for elves).

This book focuses on the Álfar and their involvement in human society, primarily in the entertainment industry. Seriously, if beautiful elves were real there is no chance that Hollywood and the music industry wouldn’t embrace them. So I postulated a steady stream of Álfar leaving Fey and deciding to live full time in the human world. Many of them choose to marry humans despite our short lifespans because humans tend to live with such passion because of those brief years we are granted.

Legends, fairy tales, and fiction are filled with tales of the dangers and lure of the elven world. When young people sickened it was thought to be because they had joined the sidhe in their revels and danced until they wasted away. Infants were in danger of being stolen by elves, with a changeling left in place of the human child. Which was probably comforting to parents when they were having a particularly bad time with a child throwing a tantrum or a teenager being well… a teenager. I can just hear a frustrated and distracted couple telling each other — “Not our fault, she’s clearly a changeling.”

Often life among the elves was presented as pastoral and idyllic, filled with music and balls and hunts. There was food whose flavor surpassed all human eatables. But all I could think was no toilets — chamber pots, no electricity — candles and fireplaces, no antibiotics, hand written messages delivered by couriers…and that’s when it struck me —

The modern human world would probably be as alluring to the elves as fairyland was to humans. Once my Álfar crossed over into our world they could live in a house with modern conveniences, they could drive fast sports cars or ride in limousines. No longer would there be the tedium of tacking up a horse to ride or to pull your carriage. There are cell phones and computers, instant entertainment on your television, IPad, laptop, or phone. No more negotiating with mummers or musicians over how long they would play or perform and how much you had to pay them.

I decided that the real magic wasn’t in fairyland. It was right here in the first world and it would have a profound impact on Álfar culture. Which might make some elves very unhappy.

…………………………

From the Tor/Forge August 5th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

…………………………

More from the August 5th Tor/Forge newsletter:

Book Trailer: The Sentinels of New Orleans by Suzanne Johnson

The Sentinels of New Orleans by Suzanne Johnson

Elysian Fields, the third book in the series, publishes on August 13, 2013!

Elysian Fields is the fun, fast-paced third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans, a series of urban fantasy novels filled with wizards, mermen, and pirates. These novels are perfect for readers of paranormal fiction and “fans of Charlaine Harris and Cat Adams” (Booklist) and RT Bookreviews agrees that “for readers missing Sookie Stackhouse, this series may be right up your alley.”

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random — an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combating an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.

Words and Art: Giving Mist a Face

Mist by Susan Krinard

Written by Susan Krinard

Lo these many years ago, when I was just out of art school with a BFA in Illustration, I wanted to become a science fiction and fantasy cover artist. I went to New York with my portfolio and schlepped around town on the subway and shank’s mare, going from publisher to publisher.

Mist

They turned me down. I know now that it wasn’t because I lacked talent, but because I hadn’t done the necessary work it takes to really become a really good practicing artist. A bit of luck for me, as it turned out, since it pushed me toward becoming a writer. And I’ve been doing that for twenty years now.

However, I never lost my interest in illustration, especially the fantastical. I have always appreciated the work of really good book cover artists, and note the best of them when I go on my monthly book-buying spree.

That brings me to Mist, and bookmarks. When my short story by the same name was published in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt — the tale of a centuries-young Valkyrie who finds herself battling the trickster “god” Loki Laufeyson in defense of Odin’s magic spear, Gungnir — the release of the first Thor movie was months away. (Bear with me.) I’d always loved Norse mythology and, as it hadn’t been done a lot in urban fantasy, I decided to draw on those myths and adapt them to my own ideas and story.

Dainn

Now, I really loved “my” Loki. But when the Thor movie came out, I developed a passion for that Loki as well, though mine and Marvel’s were far from the same. And then I found some gorgeous art on Tumblr, and followed it back to the source: a young lady from Russia, Daria, also known as “Pulvis”. The painting was an art nouveau rendering of the movie’s Loki and his adoptive movie mother, Frigga. (Who is not Loki’s mother, adopted or otherwise, in myth or in Mist.)

That’s when I got the idea. I really liked Daria’s style, and imagined illustrations of my three main characters as bookmark designs. I contacted her, and we worked together to get character descriptions and sketches, which she created by some magical means on her computer. (I’m the old-fashioned kind of artist — brush, pencil and paper — and am constantly amazed at what digital artists can do.)

Loki

At my suggestion, Daria came up with some fantastic elements in addition to the figures, adding little touches like the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline for Mist’s design, a coiling serpent (representing Jormungandr, one of Loki’s three monster children) for Loki’s bookmark, and the “beast” — which figures prominently in the novel — for Dainn’s. Then, I hired Frauke Spanuth of Croco Designs, who also refurbished my website, to design the other side of the bookmarks.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. It’s very exciting to find an artist who can produce beautiful custom work, yet has the imagination to create interesting touches of her own. And it’s amazing what two artists working together, regardless of discipline, can come up with!

Three bookmarks, one of each design, are available from Susan for a 46¢ stamp sent to: Susan Krinard, P.O. Box 51924, Albuquerque, NM, 51924. Visit Susan’s website and then hop over to http://www.crocodesigns.com/ to see more of Frauke Spanuth’s web-design.

…………………………

From the Tor/Forge July 22nd newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

…………………………

More from the July 22nd Tor/Forge newsletter:

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson

About Elysian Fields: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson is the fun, fast-paced third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans, a series of urban fantasy novels filled with wizards, mermen, and pirates. These novels are perfect for readers of paranormal fiction and “fans of Charlaine Harris and Cat Adams” (Booklist) and RT Book Reviews agrees that “for readers missing Sookie Stackhouse, this series may be right up your alley.”

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi.

New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans. Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random—an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard. Namely, DJ.

Combating an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench could be DJ’s best option.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends July 19)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!