Kushiel’s Mercy Part III

Streak being calm & snuggly.

Streak being calm & snuggly.

The read along continues with Kushiel’s Mercy, Book 3 of Imriel’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Emily at Emma Wolf is our host. We’re covering Chapters 23-35, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Imriel spends the night at Melisande’s before Solon is to do his spell. Melisande tells Imriel that she would like it if, after all this, he would find it in his heart to come visit her again. Do you think he will? What would that reunion be like?

Perhaps in the far future, if all turns out OK with Imriel and Sidonie, they might arrange some clandestine meeting when Imriel and Sidonie are making some royal progress in Alba or Aragonia or such. I can see Melisande arranging it anyway and just popping in on them. If the two of them ever reproduce, then Melisande might find it impossible to stay away forever despite their wishes. I think the initial reunion could be really awkward. But if Sidonie can find it in her heart to forgive, or at least find conclusion (recognizing that Melisande’s punishment for the Skaldi invasion is permanent exile), then I think they could all move forward and just be what they are – a messed up family that do care about each other.

2. Solon tells Imriel to “put Imriel away” and “make him small…like a tiny, tiny seed.” How much of Imriel remains inside “Leander” once the spell is complete?

We see flickers of him even from day one, like when he says goodbye to Melisande. Later, when the chamber maid makes it clear that she wouldn’t mind a dalliance, Leander/Imri holds back and Leander has to explain it away to himself. So obviously Imri is still in there and he does have an influence on the actions his body takes.

3. Sidonie and Leander/Imriel meet and court again. What do you think of this and the echoes of their past courtship? How much of Imriel does Sidonie actually remember, if anything?

I think the rose petals cause an echo of past memories to serve. Also it’s kind of sweet to see Leander/Imri bumbling along with the flirting. I think we can see flickers in Sidonie but to her Leander is a stranger, so she’s not going to reveal her concerns about her memory or pieces into quite fitting together yet. She has all the training in royal poise going on. It will be interesting to see these two learn to trust each other all over again.

4. What do you think of Leander/Imriel’s cover story of how he came to be in the service of Solon and sent to Carthage? What do you think of Carthage generally?

Leander, like any good spy, is sticking as close as he can to the story. However, he has to leave out or alter anything that might remind Sidonie of Terre D’Ange. I think he will find that harder to do than he expects. In general, I think the cover story is enough. After all, both Bodeshmun and Astegal (I’m assuming) have to realize that various spies will wiggle their in close to try to learn how they pulled off this big magic with Terre D’Ange.

Carthage in general seems to be an old and vibrant city. I like it even if I don’t agree with everything (like the life-long slavery). And while I like the look of palanquins I too find them ridiculous. Unless you’re having sex while your slaves carry you around the city. That’s what I would use a palanquin for. And mine would be steampunked up, with some sort of automatons carrying me and my harem around town. Maybe the automatons would be in the shape of armadillos, because I really like them but, alas, they carry the the leprosy virus. So no live armadillos for me.

5. We see Sunjata and Bodeshmun, this time through Leander’s eyes. Has your impression changed?

Since this is a reread for me, I was really looking forward to seeing Sunjata again. I love that Leander is in a on/off relationship with him. I felt that Sunjata was, in general, a gentle soul even from the beginning, even when he stuck Imri with the madness needle. So it’s nice to see that expanded upon here.

Bodeshmun is an arrogant man, just like folks have told Imri. I’m glad to see it as that could be a key to his undoing. Tho I do believe he’s very dangerous and has the power to remove Leander’s eyes.

6. Why did Leander/Imriel choose Kratos, Ghanim, and the brothers? Was it more Imriel or more Leander who did the choosing?

I think it was more Imriel doing the choosing here. He picked men that he knew would end up in hard labor and it would probably kill them. He chose well. I expect these men will serve him loyally.

Also, wasn’t it hard to watch Leander/Imri agonize over the Aragonian boy? Jacqueline Carey sure does know how to jerk the emotions out of me!

Other Tidbts:

I love that Leander/Imri brought Sidonie a chess set!

Seeing Imri through Leander’s eyes has been very interesting. I think this is what many D’Angelines think about Imriel to one degree or another.

Also Leander’s ideas about Imriel’s hunt for his mother to bring her to justice were interesting.

I think it’s interesting that Sunjata wanted to see Leander/Imri totally naked, thereby seeing Imri’s true body.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S MERCY in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: C. T. Phipps, Author of Cthulhu Armageddon

CTPhippsAuthorEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author C. T. Phipps. I really enjoyed his book, The Rules of Supervillainy and am very excited to see his latest, Cthulhu Armaggedon, out in audiobook. So don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post – an Audible.com version of Cthulhu Armageddon, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. 

If you could be an extra on a horror movie or TV show, what would it be and what role would you have?

I’d have to say I’d probably do best as an extra on SUPERNATURAL. I wouldn’t really fit in as the bearded pudgy Southern author unless it’s as a zombie on The Walking Dead. I also was a huge fan of the show for the first five seasons with my wife making a regular ritual of it. As for what role I’d have, I’d love to be the guy who gives them a vital clue before dying horribly. I’m realistic about my chances in such a situation.

I’d also love to have a guest starring role on an adaptation of one of my books but baby steps. Hehe.

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonWhat makes you cringe?

It’s funny but I’m not afraid of things like spiders, clowns, closed spaces, heights, or any of the usual things but am mortally terrified of embarrassing situations. I could probably deal with the Slenderman more easily than I could an awkward conversation about emotional stuff. It’s funny because my wife thinks I’m a big baby about that while we have our weekly horror movie-a-thons but flee at any romance films.

Ironically, I had a lot more trouble writing the emotional beats of THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY and its sequels than I ever did with the zombies or demons. It’s similar with CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsTheRulesOfSupervillainyWhat now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

I’d like to say H.P. Lovecraft because while I’d love to interview J.R.R Tolkien, I probably wouldn’t be able to come up with any interesting questions for him. With H.P. Lovecraft, I would have a bunch of them ranging from talking about racial issues, the meaning of his monsters, and so on. It’d be a conversation he’d probably walk out on me during but it would certainly be enjoyable. Then again, we might just bond over our shared love of the weird. I did, after all, write the novel CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON to follow up on some of his ideas.

Personally, I’d like to know what he thought of the way his stories have spread out and become so influential.

PhippsEsoterrorismIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

That’s a tough call because I really do love to resist books I’ve read in the past and see if I can get anything new from a re-read. I’ve re-read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE over and over again. I’ve also done the same with the LORD OF THE RINGS. So I’ll avoid the usual answers and go with THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher. Those books have been something I’ve enjoyed for almost seventeen years now and helped create my love of urban fantasy. I loved reading about Harry’s crazy adventures, his myriad femme fatales, and experiencing the crazy combination of humor with dramatic storytelling which is the heart of the series. Being able to enjoy that all for the first time again would be grand. It was a big influence on THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA, ESOTERRORISM, and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsStraightOuttaFangtonWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Writing is my most difficult job! Well, actually, no, it’s all the things around writing. The job of editing, advertising, and selling your book to your audience is a full-time job well after the “fun” part of making it work. Being an indie author definitely has its advantages over one of the big publishing houses but one of the reasons I could never be a self-published author is because I’m overwhelmed with the parts I do do. LOL.

Still, I would never do anything else.

PhippsTheGamesOfSupervillainyWhat book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

I’m a very video game-influenced author as I love the interactivity of being able to project a portion of yourself into the game world, particularly RPGs. So it’s actually a complicated question as the majority of books are more like movies in that you’re along for the ride but don’t really have a way of impacting the plot. The exception to this was the fabulous “Witcher” games which managed to preserve the feel of the classic fantasy series while also allowing you a lot of choice in the narrative. I also loved THE SHADOW OF MORDOR which isn’t about any of Tolkien’s characters but set in his world with someone not so morally pure.

If I were to see one of my books adapted to a video game, I’d definitely choose THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY, STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON, and CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON in no particular order. I think Rules would be particularly awesome as you’d have this big wide open sandbox full of colorful characters. You could also decide whether Gary goes the Anti-Villain route or becomes pure evil.

PhippsTheSecretsOfSupervillainyWho are some of your favorite book villains?

If I had to choose favorite villains from books other than my own, I would choose Grand Admiral Thrawn from THE THRAWN TRILOGY, Jaime Lannister from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ Sauron. In the first case, Grand Admiral Thrawn is such an elegant and cultured character you actually want him to win despite being up against our heroes.

Jaimie is such a three-dimensional character that it’s hard to even say he’s a villain rather than a differently valued protagonist. Sauron? Sauron never even shows up in-person but casts such a shadow over everything that he manages to become a pervasive presence nevertheless. I also have a strong fondness for Gentleman Johnny Marcone and Lara Raith from THE DRESDEN FILES.

If I had to choose my favorite villain from my books, I’d probably choose Alan Ward from CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON. He’s a scientist and wizard with knowledge dating back to the Pre-Rising world which everyone has forgotten. Alan has the desire to save humanity from destruction and is willing to do anything, break any taboo, and do whatever horrible thing is necessary to figure out a way to preserve the human species.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Warning – Easily Distracted.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?


I always saw myself as a writer, too. Which is why becoming one is such a gleeful thing.

Thanks for the interview!

Book Blurb for Cthulhu Armageddon

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonCthulhu Armageddon is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters).

John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and the suspicion that he’s “tainted”. Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of the man who killed his friends. It’s the one thing he has left.

Places to Find C. T. Phipps









C. T. Phipps is generously offering up 5 copies of the Audible.com audiobook of Cthulhu Armageddon. You can enter the Rafflecopter below or you can answer these questions in the comments: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Who are your favorite book villains? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaways ends November 19, 2016, midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kushiel’s Mercy Part II

Streak being calm & snuggly.

Streak being calm & snuggly.

The read along continues with Kushiel’s Mercy, Book 3 of Imriel’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 11-22, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Imriel visits a few of the Houses with Astegal. If you were to visit Carey’s Terre d’Ange, would there be a particular house you’d be interested to see?

Such a hard choice! I think we had a question similar to this one way back at the beginning of the series and now that we’ve come so far, experienced so much with these characters and the discussions, I bet my answer has changed. I’m waffling between Jasmine (for pleasure’s sake), Eglantine (to create is to live), and Balm (rest and be soothed). You know, I think I will make the rounds to all three like a good D’Angeline would.

2) The Carthaginians’ scheme was some of the most blatant magic that I think we’ve seen in the series. Given that there is a whole country of people who are not fooled, do you think they really expected to get away with it cleanly in the long-term? Do you think they have an alternative plan?

You’re right about the magic being upfront and in our faces with this story. After the more subtle, perhaps even bordering on magical realism, in past books, it’s a bit of a change, isn’t it?

It’s been some years since I last read this book, so I’ve forgotten the details. But based on Carey’s intricate plots, I would say that there is more to this plot that what we’ve seen so far, and what we’ve seen so far has the D’Angeline monarchy, a chunk of its priesthood, and its army enslaved. So, yeah, I bet there’s more coming.

3) Barquiel l’Envers goes from a petty antagonist to one of Imriel’s only allies. Does this change your opinion of him? Do you think this adventure will alter his perception of Imriel?

Quite frankly, I love this part. It’s very much like how Barquiel gave Phedre such the stink eye yet still rode out to save her from a skinning. I can say from experience that Barquiel’s role in this book made me look more kindly upon him during rereads later on.

4) We finally see Melisande again! What do you think of what she has become? Do you think she still deserves execution for her crimes?

It was good to see her interacting with someone she wouldn’t consider seducing (probably, hopefully!). It was a different side of her and also I think she has gained some wisdom over the years. It was both fascinating and chilling to see how honest she was about her amorality.

Yes, she does deserve to be punished for her crimes. Those people who died during the Skaldi invasion are still dead. There are still plenty of repercussions from that act of treason. However, this is not always a just world and I think Imriel’s compromise (banned from D’Angeline soil for life) is the best he could get. Sometimes making a final ruling, as such, lets people move on, whether they think it is fair or not.

5) What do you think will be Imriel’s key to change out of the form and mind of Leander? Do you think you would be willing to undergo such a transformation?

So I do recall the answers to the first question. And I recall how each happens –  and I think you will all enjoy those scenes as I did.

Would I be willing to undergo such a transformation? Well, for the love of my life, sure. No problem. Heck, even just for Halloween I might do it. It might be interesting to be a fairly attractive young man with a randy attitude for a day or week or so.

Other Tidbts:

Imriel’s little trick with the pillow was simple and perfect for getting info. Our young man has come pretty far since he was a kid. I don’t think he would have done that even at the beginning of this trilogy.

Madness for a whole month! And then when you get your wits back, you have perfect recollection of all the hurtful, crazy shit you said and did. That is one nasty piece of magic.

It was silly for Imri to bring the Bastard but I think he really needed a D’Angeline friend at the time.

The Wise Ape! Fascinating man. I would love to see some fanfic about his life.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S MERCY in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Interview: Michael Meyerhofer, Author of The Godsfall Trilogy

MichaelMeyerhoferAuthorEveryone, please welcome the author of The Dragonkin Trilogy and The Godsfall Trilogy back to the blog today, Michael Meyehofer.

If you could be an extra on a TV series or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

Thanks for having me! Well, since it’s too late for me to be an extra on The Next Generation, I guess I’d want to be a Dothraki horse lord on Game of Thrones (minus the torture and murder of innocent shepherds, of course).

MeyerhoferWytchfireWhat makes you cringe?
Melodrama, bullies, emotional crescendos that haven’t been earned. Awkward people (like myself) trying to be sexy.

Is there a genre or literary niche that you feel hasn’t gotten its deserved amount of attention?

I’m not sure this counts as a whole niche but one thing I’d like to see in high/epic fantasy is more inclusion of LBGTQ characters. It doesn’t have to be overtly political and heavy-handed; in fact, I think it’s better if it’s done subtly. One of the protagonists in my first trilogy was a gay male, and there are a couple more homosexual characters in the latest novel (The Dragonward), but their sexuality is fairly peripheral, just another aspect of their character. And incidentally, one of my gay characters named Jalist has been mentioned by readers over and over again as their favorite character. So that means, without having to get on any kind of big political soapbox, the novels were able to introduce readers to the prospect of a gay character that they liked simply because he was a good character—which is the whole point.

I’d also like to see more fully realized female characters. That’s something that’s improved a great deal, especially recently (thanks in no small part to GRRM), but honestly, there’s still a big temptation to write female characters in fantasy stories that fit into one of the three old archetypes: 1) the hot female who exists to be hot, 2) the frilly innocent female who exists only to be murdered/raped in order to fuel the male protagonist’s quest for revenge, and 3) the two dimensional swordbro who happens to be a woman. That doesn’t mean that writers can’t play around with these archetypes, maybe take an old idea/trope and put a twist on it, but providing both male and female characters who have actual personalities, including both internal and external conflict, is a good start.

(Whew, just realized I kinda went off on a rant there…)

What’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

One of my favorites doesn’t exactly gross ME out, but I’ve seen it make others cringe: dust is mostly human skin. In other words, when we clean, we’re basically mopping up tiny pieces of other people’s flesh. And when we have allergies, or if we’re in a dusty room, we’re breathing in—and sneezing—on other people’s arms and elbows.

MeyerhoferKnightswrathIt’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

I’d invite Anne Sexton, the Buddha, and Nikola Tesla to discuss Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye… and maybe just for kicks, Twilight.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

Absolutely! I think the issues raised by art and literature—the politics, for lack of a better word—have always influenced the outside world, but with fantasy and sci-fi, that influence is more readily apparent, simply because those genres have such a huge, thoughtful audience. I’m not just talking about the inspirations that led to us having some of the technology from Star Trek and Back to the Future, but cultural aspects, too. It seems to me that the relatively new acceptance of homosexuality is owed not just to brave real world activists, but the compassionate portrayals of gay and lesbian characters in fiction. The same could be said for female empowerment. Sure, there’s always been a shortage of fully realized female characters, even in sci-fi/fantasy, but those that DO exist have had an enormous, culture-shifting impact, I think.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

I remember a book I read as a kid, pretty sure it was The Neverending Story, in which the narrator asks that same question. Introducing reality is good for making your stuff more realistic, of course, but “because it’s realistic” isn’t quite a good enough excuse. There has to be something else going on, some metaphor or plot point that advances the story. For instance, the main character stepping outside the crowded inn to go to visit the outhouse isn’t very interesting, and therefore, isn’t really pivotal to the story. On the other hand, the main character visiting the outhouse and noticing something important on their way back in, or even just musing how the reek of the outhouse is starkly different than the perfume of the pompous nobles celebrating back at the inn… that’s a bit better.

MeyerhoferKingsteelWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Ha, funny you ask that, given my answer for the previous question, but one of the most difficult jobs I ever had was collecting urine samples in a treatment center. I only worked there for a few months, but my job was basically to… well, put on rubber gloves, stand there while somebody did their business, then collect said business whilst trying not to look creepy. Often, I was required to use eyedroppers and thermometers and weird space age gadgets to test the sample for drugs or alcohol, while the person was standing right there, glaring at me. In all cases, the difficult part of the job wasn’t actually handling the samples—believe it or not—but trying to appear casual, even tell jokes to try at put the other person at ease as quickly as possible. In a strange way, that job was a good trial run for being a teacher.

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

I’ve always wanted the Dragonlance books to be made into a good video game. I’ve played a few versions that were all right, but none that felt truly epic. A version that focused mainly Raistlin’s quest to become a god (and maybe also on Caramon’s quest to protect and/or stop him) would be interesting, too. I’d also like to see a big Game of Thrones-like MMORPG made for Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni books.

MeyerhoferTheDragonwardWhat does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

Actually, where and when I write isn’t really all that important, since it changes often. The basic routine is mostly the same, though. Whether I’m home or in a coffee shop somewhere (usually with a few gallons of caffeine within easy reach), I put in headphones, tune out the rest of the world, and basically just force myself to start typing—even if it’s a mess and will require lots of revision later.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

With The Dragonward out now and its sequel (The Wintersea) forthcoming, I’ve mainly been promoting this new series (The Godsfall Trilogy). When I find the time, though, I work to spread the word about its predecessor, The Dragonkin Trilogy. I’ve been amazed and humbled by the sales and reviews, but as we say in this business, the work never stops. Especially lately, I’m offering free review copies, and possibly even free copies of the audiobook versions to anyone willing to write a review. I don’t think I really understood how important book reviews could be until I started publishing books. They’re basically what keeps us going. So if anybody wants to give The Dragonward and/or the previous Dragonkin Trilogy a try, let me know! I’m happy to provide free review copies, in exchange for a good faith promise to write a fair review.

Places to Find Michael Meyerhofer







MeyerhoferWytchfireBook Blurb for Wytchfire, Book 1 of The Dragonkin Trilogy: In a land haunted by the legacy of dead dragons, Rowen Locke has been many things: orphan, gravedigger, mercenary. All he ever wanted was to become a Knight of Crane and wield a kingsteel sword against the kind of grown horrors his childhood knows all too well.

But that dream crumbled—replaced by a new nightmare.
War is overrunning the realms, an unprecedented duel of desire and revenge, steel and sorcery. And for one disgraced man who would be a knight, in a world where no one is blameless, the time has come to decide which side he’s on.

MeyerhoferTheDragonwardBook Blurb for The Dragonward, Book 1 of The Godsfall Trilogy: Three years after the War of the Lotus, alliances have already begun to unravel. As Rowen Locke struggles to maintain peace, troubling news reaches him from every corner. Persecution of the Shel’ai has reignited in the south, spurred on by a fanatical priest. To the north, the Isle Knights are withering under the leadership of mad Crovis Ammerhel. Old friends fight each other when not drowning their sorrows in taverns.

A new threat emerges from across the sea, dispatched by the same exiled Dragonkin who have been plotting their revenge for centuries. Rowen and his companions soon realize that the target is the Dragonward itself: their one and only defense against an evil so vast even Knightswrath could not vanquish it.

Kushiel’s Mercy Part I

Streak being calm & snuggly.

Streak being calm & snuggly.

Ah! It’s definitely good to be back in the land of Terre D’Ange! The read along continues with Kushiel’s Mercy, Book 3 of Imriel’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I am your host. We’re covering Chapters 1-10, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) So far, what do you think of the variety of responses people have to Imriel’s and Sidonie’s relationship?

I’m always a bit surprised at how many folks disapprove of their  relationship. At one point, someone tells Imriel they have a right to their anger and I think I would have to take it on a case by case basis. I’m don’t think they all have a right to their anger.

Then there are those that just love the naughty  feel to it all, the defiance and that’s OK but perhaps not sincere. I’m very glad there are some who are truly happy for Imri and Sidonie. I’m glad that Sidonie and Imri are careful as to what parties they choose to  attend and don’t overly flaunt their relationship, adding salt to some people’s wounds.

2) Imriel starts the hunt for Melisande. What do you think of his efforts so far? Could you hand over a wayward relative to the authorities?

I’m always of two  minds about this part. Basically, others are doing most of the searching and asking for him. Hyacinthe is searching in his sea mirror. Phedre is sending off queries.  I’m sure  the queen has her little spy network working on it too. As things go on, he does get more involved, and I can understand his hesitancy – going off  after his mother, once she’s located, would mean an end of his daily bed tumbling, at least until he returns. Also, and I believe he’s aware of this at this point as well, she is his biological mother and did adore him as a babe. There will be some sorrow in seeing her finally facing justice and being put to death.

As to the second question, it probably depends on what my wayward relative had done and if they had or were trying to make amends. Stealing  from someone but then showing remorse – perhaps not. Depends on what was stolen. Even murder, I would have to consider the reason why they did it. Treason to the country and nearly bringing about a successful invasion and fall of the existing functional & fairly fair government – uh, yeah, I think I would have to hand them over.

3) Sidonie makes her first ventures into the spicier side of the love arts. Comment away!

I’m so glad they did a viewing –  and not just because it was fun to read! I really loved that Imri wanted to see her reactions to the various activities available to those who like a bit more  spice in their bed play. And I love that Imri lost his fear of himself, finding his own abilities and responses were in keeping with Elua’s teachings. Tho he did mess up once, I think Sidonie’s response was perfect! Imri did atone for that, and did it  well.

4) The priesthood weighs in on Sidonie’s and Imriel’s relationship. Do you think Imriel’s words were the clincher, or do you think the priests had mostly made up their minds before the meeting?

I think it was a mix. Some of the priests had already made up their minds before they met Imriel. Yet he spoke quite well, his honesty coming through clearly. I love that he cites Joscelin’s words about his attempt to live without Phedre. Imri has tried to live without Sidonie and that hasn’t gone well for many people – not just Sidonie and Imriel.

When I first read this book years ago, I recall being quite put out that the priesthood should have any say on such a personal matter. But, as Jacqueline Carey is always doing, she shows me through this book how their union is bigger than just the two of them. Also, I have read several historical fiction and non-fiction histories since then and getting the church’s blessing for royal unions is not really that uncommon. So, I was a silly thing then, but am less silly and ignorant now.

5) It’s been two years since Imriel last celebrated the Longest Night in the D’Angeline fashion. What was the most interesting part of this night for you?

Favrielle out did herself this time! She’s always setting the bar for eloquence when it comes to ball attire. I don’t think I have ever  held onto something that long in hopes of using it for something  incredible, but I’m glad she did.

Barquiel! What an ass! I bet he’s the one that got that wine baron sloshed and then riled up  enough to make a scene. In the end, I did feel sad for the wine baron, and I wanted to punch Barquiel in the teeth – tho that would probably not work out so well for me.

6) We catch our first glimpse of the Carthaginians and the general Astegal. What do you think of their tribute?

Wow! He really goes for the glitz! And there is so much of it! While apologies are made for Imriel’s experience with the Carthaginian slavers so many years ago, I  had to wonder how much of that tribute was ‘earned’ through slavery. Still, it’s a new culture for us to explore with these beloved characters and I look forward to it.

Other Tidbts:

Mavros is such a stalwart friend! I’m glad he keeps popping up in these books even tho he has a minor role so far.

The Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Claud du Montluc, seems like a good chap. I’m glad he took Imri’s advice in getting his men trained to fight on horseback.

Ah! Amarante! She’s such an understanding and gracious person. I’m glad that Imri no longer has any jealousy over her when it comes to Sidonie.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S MERCY in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Author Interview: Scott Warren, Author of Vick’s Vultures

WarrenVicksVulturesEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author Scott Warren. We chat about space aliens, book cover art, Batman vs. Superman and plenty more!

If you could be an extra on a Scifi/Fantasy movie or TV show, what would it be and what would you be doing?

I’d love to be an OSHA inspector on the Enterprise. You just know that has to be a do-nothing gig, panels, conduits, and warp cores exploding left and right while the inspector is spending 6 hours out of every 8 hour shift on the holodeck.

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

Definitely a space alien, it’s been too long since I’ve had a decent probing and I’ve always wanted to eat at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern scifi/fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

I think modern science fiction has really opened more people’s minds to the idea that life out in the stars could be very real, as opposed to popular fictions like the Andromeda Strain or Grays, or Marvin the Martian. It’s no longer considered crackpot theory to believe in some form of extra terrestrial life. Given the extent of the universe and the discovery of exoplanets it’s practically a certainty.

If you were sent on a quest, which 4 other scifi/fantasy authors would you take with you?

S.A. Hunt would be on the team for sure, he’s an Iraq War vet so he can handle desert terrain.

John Scalzi would bring humor and wit to the group, and could serve as an emergency food source.

Carl Sagan would bring his infinite wisdom to the party, providing guidance in times of doubt.

Robin Hobb, because her attention to the myriad details of everyday life in a fantasy world hints at a deep knowledge of the tools needed to survive without modern amenities.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

Probably what I’m already doing, being a helicopter pilot, UAV pilot, and freelance illustrator. I don’t have to wonder if the grass is greener.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

I wouldn’t describe myself as a particular fanboy of anyone in particular (save for the great dark terror, Cthulhu). I’ve never found myself capable of obsessing or growing overly attached over an individual or their work. In a way, I envy the obsessed their passion even as I abhor the concept of fixation on the individual.

WarrenDevilboneCover art can be so important for a book, making or breaking sales. How did your books end up with such excellent cover art?

For Devilbone I self-published, and so I had full creative control over the cover. I wanted something surreal and directly relevant to the content of the story while capturing the dark fantasy atmosphere. For Vick’s Vultures, Eric and Colin enlisted the services of Tom Edwards. As an illustrator I was reluctant to hand over control of the cover, but the timing was such that I couldn’t possibly design it myself. Upon looking at his gallery, I was absolutely certain that he could capture the feeling and atmosphere of Vick’s Vultures every bit as well as I could.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

It may be a bit cliche, but I find myself drawn into the tired Batman vs Superman debate. Having not seen the recent movie, I’m of the opinion that the power scales are so vastly different that Batman (despite being my favorite of the two) could not hope to contend with the full might of Superman.

Places to Find Scott Warren





ScottWarrenAuthorAuthor Bio: 

Scott Warren got his start in writing while living in Washington during the summer of 2014 when he entered the world of speculative fiction by writing Sorcerous Crimes Division, followed shortly by Vick’s Vultures.

Mr. Warren blends aspects of classic military fantasy and science fiction with a modern, streamlined writing style to twist tired tropes into fresh ideas. He believes in injecting a healthy dose of adventure into the true-to-life grit and grime that marks the past decade of science fiction, while still embracing the ideas that made science fiction appeal to so many readers.

As a UAV Pilot, and former submariner, Scott draws on his military and aviation experiences to bring authenticity to his writing while keeping it accessible to all readers. Scott is also an artist, contributing his skills to board games, role playing games, and his own personal aerial photography galleries.

Mr. Warren currently resides in Huntsville, AL.

WarrenVicksVulturesBook Blurb for Vick’s Vultures

In the far future, alien technology captured by the Union Earth Privateers has fueled Earth’s tenuous expansion from a single planet to a handful of systems across the Orion Spur.

Victoria Marin, captain of the U.E. Condor, and her crew of Vultures have been running dry for months. In danger of losing her command and her credibility if she can’t locate fresh salvage, she locks onto the distress signal of an alien ship in hopes of valuable cargo. What she finds instead is First Prince Tavram, the heir apparent to one of the largest empires in known space. Tavram’s ship has been crippled after narrowly escaping an ambush and his would-be assassin is coming to finish the job.

The Vultures launch a high risk mission to rescue the prince and recover every last scrap of xenotech they can before the hunter catches up to his prey. But there are more dangers than notorious interstellar assassins when it comes to ferrying alien princes across the stars, and Victoria must contend with dangerous alliances, old grudges, and even her own government if she means to bring her crew home alive. Whether she succeeds or fails, the consequences of her choices will affect the path of all humanity.

About the Publisher:

Parvus Press was founded in January of 2016 and is dedicated to publishing top-tier fantasy and science fiction that hold their own against the biggest names in the industry. The company name, “Parvus” is latin for “small” and they are committed to quality over quantity.

Parvus believes that a small team of motivated, creative people can do great things. By bringing together the best emerging talents in art and design with the undiscovered voices of new authors, Parvus can play a role in helping bring exciting new approaches to the fantasy and science fiction genres to life.

The company was founded by life-long best friends Colin Coyle and Eric Ryles who bring passion for genre fiction along with successful backgrounds in marketing, business management, and partner development into this endeavor. They quickly brought industry veteran, editor, and writing coach John Adamus into the fold to help navigate the intricacies of the world of publishing and oversee the editorial process.

In June 2016, Parvus acquired the rights to their second novel. C ourt of Twilight is a contemporary fantasy novel by debut author Mareth E. Griffith and is slated for release in Winter 2017. They are currently open for submissions. Interested authors can find their submission guidelines at http://www.ParvusPress.com/submissions .

Little Red Cuttlefish by Henry Herz, Josh Herz, & Harrison Herz

HerzLittleRedCuttlefishWhere I Got It: Review copy

Illustrator: Kate Gotfredson

Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company (2016)

Length: 32 pages

Author’s Page

This is an aquatic retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. Little Red, a cuttlefish, is set to deliver crabcakes to Grandma. Little Red looks forward to sharing krill cakes with her. She makes it there safely and that’s when the tiger shark shows up! The shark sniffs for her as she plays hide and seek. Little Red has to use her natural abilities, her smarts, and gumption to outwit the tiger shark.

There’s one page where Red has obviously changed colors (to gold like her mom) but no mention of the cuttlefish’s ability to change color is mentioned in the text. For small children this might be the only confusing part, but it also provides a chance for the reader and the kid to chat about the natural abilities of cuttlefish. This particular ability is mentioned in the Author’s Note at the back of the book, along with other factoids about cuttlefish. I like that info on the tiger shark is also included at the end of the book. The authors also provide links to additional resources on sea life in this section. The whole package is a great little introduction to sea life for small kids.

Illustrations: Brilliant colors worthy of a living coral reef are used. I like how the angle changes too throughout the story, sometimes looking side on and sometimes from above, like a scuba diver. The facial expressions on the characters are great, like when the tiger shark bumps his face into the coral. A variety of sea life is illustrated in this book: sea cucumber, shrimp, octopus, tiger shark, and staghorn coral.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

What I Liked: A fun story; a variety of sea life; showing off the cuttlefish abilities; additional sea life facts in the Author’s Note; some links for more info; great illustrations.

What I Disliked: None – a fun book for little kids!