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My Personal Excellent Reads, 2016

This year – aside from all the great books I read as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards, and specifically not including any of them, here is my 2016 list of wonderful books. (Alphabetical by author.)

A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson.

  • Deep and subtle characterizations
  • Profound insights
  • Plot pacing and through line.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave

  • Evocation of WW2 London
  • Stakes
  • Deft and deep writing

A Green and Ancient Light, Frederic S. Durbin

  • Intensely evocative writing
  • Tender coming of age story
  • Characters and relationships

How It All Began, Penelope Lively

  • Wry and witty writing
  • Twists and turns of plot
  • Characters

The Red, Linda Nagata

  • Military SF with heart
  • Memorable near future milieu
  • Superb balance of action and characters

 

Unquiet Land, Sharon Shinn

  • Lovely ensemble casting
  • Smoothly flawless prose
  • Addictive 5th book in series

 

Cover release, At the Table of Wolves

So pleased to share the lovely cover of my next book, a paranormal spy novel! The book will be published by Saga Press on July 11, 2017, and is available for pre-order at your favorite e-retailers.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meets X-Men in a classic British espionage story. A young woman must go undercover and use her superpowers to discover a secret Nazi plot and stop an invasion of England.

In 1936, there are paranormal abilities that have slowly seeped into the world, brought to the surface by the suffering of the Great War. The research to weaponize these abilities in England has lagged behind Germany, but now it’s underway at an ultra-secret site called Monkton Hall.

Kim Tavistock, a woman with the talent of the spill—drawing out truths that people most wish to hide—is among the test subjects at the facility. When she wins the confidence of caseworker Owen Cherwell, she is recruited to a mission to expose the head of Monkton Hall—who is believed to be a German spy.

As she infiltrates the upper-crust circles of some of England’s fascist sympathizers, she encounters dangerous opponents, including the charismatic Nazi officer Erich von Ritter, and discovers a plan to invade England. No one believes an invasion of the island nation is possible, not Whitehall, not even England’s Secret Intelligence Service. Unfortunately, they are wrong, and only one woman, without connections or training, wielding her Talent of the spill and her gift for espionage, can stop it.

Worldbuilding with Tananarive Due

tanaphoto

Photo by Daniel Ebon

For our concluding interview in my Ways into Worldbuilding series, I am honored to welcome a distinguished voice in fantasy and science fiction, Tananarive Due.

Tananarive Due is an author, screenwriter and educator who is a leading voice in black speculative fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in best-of-the-year anthologies of science fiction and fantasy. She is the former Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Spelman College (2012-2014) and teaches Afrofuturism and creative writing at UCLA. Read More…

Worldbuilding with Sharon Shinn

sharon-shinn-color-pic This is the next to last guest post for the Ways into Worldbuilding series. I am especially pleased this week to welcome a true master of fantasy, Sharon Shinn.

Sharon Shinn has published 26 novels, one collection, and assorted pieces of short fiction since her first book came out in 1995. Among her books are the Twelve Houses series (Mystic and Rider and its sequels), the Samaria series (Archangel and its sequels), the Shifting Circle series, and the Elemental Blessings series. She lives in St. Louis, loves the Cardinals, watches as many movies as she possibly can, and still mourns the cancellation of “Firefly.” Visit her website at or see her on Facebook at sharonshinnbooks.

Aside from reader expectations, why do you build worlds? Is it more of an obligation than a pleasure? If the latter, what is enjoyable or rewarding about this aspect? Read More…