the-mortal-tally-by-sam-sykes

Brooding Swordsman: 1

Hooded Man: 0

I call it a win.

The heart of civilization bleeds.

Cier’Djaal, once the crowning glory of the civilized world, has gone from a city to a battlefield and a battlefield to a graveyard. Foreign armies clash relentlessly on streets laden with the bodies of innocents caught in the crossfire. Cultists and thieves wage shadow wars, tribal armies foment outside the city’s walls, and haughty aristocrats watch the world burn from on high.

As his companions struggle to keep the city from destroying itself, Lenk travels to the Forbidden East in search of the demon who caused it all. But even as he pursues Khoth-Kapira, dark whispers plague his thoughts. Khoth-Kapira promises him a world free of war where Lenk can put down his sword at last. And Lenk finds it hard not to listen.

When gods are deaf, demons will speak.

In all likelihood, this is an unfinished catalogue cover and will change (slightly or wholly) before release. The Mortal Tally is the follow-up to Sam Sykes’ The City Stained Red and is due for release from Orbit Books on January 5th, 2016.

kate-elliott-julie-dillon

Kate Elliott’s fiction first came to my attention in the mid-’90s. In the age before the rise of massive social media, I discovered authors through publications like Locus, and through things like award nomination lists. When King’s Dragon showed up on the Nebula shortlist for novels published in 1997 (a ballot that also coincidentally included an unassuming novel titled by a chap named Martin), I was excited to try a new author, and one tackling epic fantasy at that! I was pleased to find that King’s Dragon offered deep and intricate worldbuilding, strong female characters, perspectives on issues and facets of epic fantasy worlds that don’t always get much play, and a willingness to go dark when necessary. This was definitely something different than the epic fantasy of the ’80s I devoured as a teenager. I was hooked on Kate’s work. Hard.

I started reading backward into her œuvre, and then forward ever since.

Though also an author of several science fiction novels (Jaran, for instance, might be considered as Genghis Khan meets Jane Austen in space!), Elliott is best known for being one of the cornerstones of epic fantasy writing starting in the mid 90s and continuing strongly to this day. While many of the innovations and style of Elliott’s rising carries through all of her work, the series’ themselves are individual and distinct in manner, matter, and tone. There is a Kate Elliott fantasy series for nearly every taste of reader. Read More »

the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet-by-becky-chambers

My, my, my.

Many things could be said for of Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, a self-published success story that Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch described as “a joyous, optimistic space opera […] progressive but not worthy and filled with warm and endearing characters”, however, the original cover art – which could be lauded for its enthusiasm, if nothing else – was not a showstopper. So, alongside a new publishing deal from Hodder & Stoughton and a Kitschie nomination for Best Debut, comes a gorgeous new cover for Chambers’ debut. Isn’t it just lovely?

The crew of the Wayfarer, a wormhole-building spaceship, get the job offer of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel at the centre of the galaxy. The journey will be time-consuming and difficult, but the pay is enough to endure any discomfort. All they have to do is survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But every crewmember has a secret to hide, and they’ll soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

“I fell in love with Becky’s universe the moment I started reading The Long Way,” Anne Perry, Chambers’ editor at Hodder & Stoughton, said after revealing the deal on the publisher’s official blog. “The world she creates is warm and wonderful and so involving that I found myself resenting any time spent not reading the book. I was thrilled to learn about the Kitschies shortlisting so soon after agreeing the deal with Becky – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is an incredibly assured debut and I am absolutely delighted be working with her at such an exciting moment in her career.”

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet will be released by Hodder and Stoughton as an eBook on March 16th, 2015, followed by a hardcover release August 13th, 2015.

The Very Best of Kate Elliott

Buy The Very Best of Kate Elliott by Kate Elliott: Book

In a post last year here on A Dribble of Ink, Aidan kindly debuted the stunning illustration Julie Dillon painted of a scene from my novel, Cold Steel. In that post I mentioned how the commission came about:

When I decided to commission an artist to illustrate a short story in the Spiritwalker universe, I was thrilled that Julie Dillon agreed to work with me…

Besides the black and white drawings for The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal, I also asked Julie for two color illustrations. I picked the subjects based on passages from Cold Steel that I thought would be visually evocative.

I particularly wanted an illustration for a scene in which the heroines, Cat and Bee, emerge from a cave onto a beach whose strand, instead of sand, is “red coals and smoking ash.” Here in the spirit world the sea isn’t water; it’s smoke. In the scene a dragon rises out of the sea of smoke to confront them.

A bright shape emerged, smoke spilling off it in currents. The dragon loomed over us. Its head was crested as with a filigree that reminded me of a troll’s crest, if a troll’s crest spanned half the sky. Silver eyes spun like wheels. It was not bird or lizard, not was it a fish. Most of its body remained beneath the smoke. Ripples revealed a dreadful expanse of wings as wide as fields, shimmering pale gold like ripe wheat under a harsh sun. Read More »