Review: Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels #3.5) by Ilona Andrews

Magic MournsThis novella takes place between Magic Strikes and Magic Bleeds in the Kate Daniels universe, but the point-of-view character is Kate’s friend Andrea Nash instead. We’ve already been introduced to Andrea and know secrets about her character from previous books in the series, but this time, she’s the hero of her own adventure.

Once again, Andrews shows how the werecreatures in their books are not all sexy. In fact, Andrea’s backstory is rather tragic and disturbing, but it doesn’t stop Andrea from being just as amazing as her friend Kate.

It’s also interesting that Andrews doesn’t just rely on the tried-and-true trope of werewolves as the default shifters. In this novella, we delve into the world of werehyenas, a very different breed from werewolves in more ways than one.

And as usual, we’re treated to a story line that revolves around yet another flavor of mythology. This time, Greek mythology is the source of our monsters. Andrea’s character arc in this tale is completely satisfying, and it was fun to cheer her on as she learns to embrace her own inner beast.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

StokerCon 2019 Schedule!

StokerCon 2019 imageI’m excited to attend my first StokerCon this week, in Grand Rapids, Michigan! This is not a convention I plan to attend normally, but the stars aligned to make attending this year too awesome to pass up, such as my publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press winning this year’s Specialty Press Award.

For most of the event, you’ll be able to find me at the RDSP table in the dealer’s room, where my books will be available despite the lack of blatant horror. I do have some spots on the schedule though:

Thursday

  • 7 PM: Be a Diamond in the Slush Pile Rough (panel)
    • Tired of getting lost in the stack of unread submissions? Do you want your work to stand out as the diamond in the rough? Learn the top editing tips that can help you rise above the slush pile and get published.
    • With Michael Cieslak, Norman Prentiss, J.D. Barker, and April Grey

Friday

  • 12 PM: Reading
    • With Jeff Strand and Peggy Christie
  • 5 PM: Mass Autograph Session & Ice Cream Social

Saturday

  • 1 PM: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (presentation)
    • Join author and editor J.L. Gribble for an overview of the alternate history genre, followed by world-building activities with audience interaction to create various alternate histories of our own. Appropriate for both readers and creators.

I’m getting to the hotel on Wednesday evening and leaving Sunday morning, so there’s plenty of time to hang out if you’d like to meet for a meal, drink, coffee, or just a chat! I’m attending the awards ceremony on Saturday night, but not the banquet, so I’ll definitely be looking for dinner buddies for that time.

Will I see you there?

Farpoint 2019 Schedule

Farpoint2

I’m thrilled to return to Farpoint 26 next weekend for my second year! I had a blast last year and made some excellent friends. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with them and other local fans. Here’s where you can find me on the official schedule:

Friday

  • 10 PM: Farpoint Book Fair

Saturday

  • 10 AM: Alternate History: Creating Stories By Changing the Past (presentation)
    • Come learn about the alternate history genre and then create a few alternate histories of your own in this interactive presentation!
  • 12 PM: Autograph Session
    • With Brian Koscienski
  • 3 PM: Reading
    • With Steven H. Wilson and Michael Critzer

Sunday

  • 12 PM: Reading
    • With T. Eric Bakutis
  • 1 PM: Autograph Session
    • With Peter David (!!!!)
  • 3 PM: I Have Written a Book: Now What (panel)
    • With Keith R.A. DeCandido, Don Sakers, and Gregory A. Wilson

As usual, I’m more than happy to hang out with people anytime I’m not officially scheduled, whether for food, a drink, or just a chat. The best way to reach me during the convention is a direct message via Facebook or Twitter.

Until then, I’ll be over here freaking out that I’m sharing an autograph session with my favorite Star Trek writer…

Steel Time Deleted Scenes!

Steel Time Jacket.inddHappy New Year’s Eve to all of my awesome friends and blog followers, but more importantly — happy birthday to me! I’m planning a lovely low-key evening with a small group of friends to involve pizza, cake, and games. I hope that whatever you plans have, you remain safe and have a blast.

To celebrate today, I’d love to share two short scenes that were removed from Steel Time before publication. Enjoy!

[Please note that both scenes are in very rough draft form, and neither of them have been edited.]

Continue reading

Con Report: FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018

FanX 2018 author imageWow. What an absolutely amazing trip.

[If you’re here to find the copy of my alternate history presentation, you’re in the right place! It’s included below!]

I’m not even going to recap last year, because this year blew it out of the water. I was honored to be invited back, and I hope to return again next year. Many thanks to Jay Whittaker and Blake Casselman for their continued support — I genuinely feel like I leveled up as an author last weekend, and it could not have happened without the support from both of you.

THURSDAY

My husband Bach and I traveled to the airport early in the morning, where we met two friends we were traveling with. Our trip was smooth, including the connection in Chicago and catching the new Utah train service from the airport in Salt Lake City to our hotel downtown. We checked into our hotel 30 minutes ahead of my mental schedule, and then it was off to the races!  Continue reading

Steel Time Book Launch & Excerpt!

Steel Time Jacket.inddHappy book birthday to me! Today, I’m pleased to announce the launch of the fourth book in my Steel Empires series. Steel Time is extra-special for me because time travel is one of my favorite speculative fiction motifs. Working the concept into my own expansive universe was challenging and a LOT of fun. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t just throw my characters into a certain blue box.)

I’m at FanX Salt Lake City today, giving a presentation on one of my favorite topics: alternate history! I’m sure this evening will involve lots of fun shenanigans, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a book launch day. As a treat to celebrate, I also get my picture taken with David Tennant, my favorite Doctor, tomorrow afternoon! (Look for my con report with my full write-up of the trip on the blog next week.)

Last year, when Steel Blood came out, so many people congratulated me on finishing my trilogy. Though events can stand alone after the first three books, I have so much more story to tell. I really appreciate you coming along on the adventure.

Today, I’m happy to share some basic information about the book and then give you a sneak peek at the very first chapter! And if you haven’t met my crazy world yet, I encourage you to jump in with book 1, Steel Victory.

TARDIS


ABOUT THE BOOK

You’re never too young or too old to experience a paradigm shift.

Toria Connor is 25 when tripping over an artifact in the ruins of Nacostina thrusts her a century into the past, before the city is destroyed during the Last War. Now, she finds herself alone. Adrift in a time where she must hide everything important to her, from her mercenary career to her true magical ability.

Victory is over eight centuries old when she follows her adopted daughter. She has seen empires rise and fall, but never anything like this. She must survive alone in a city inhospitable to vampires, dodging friends and foes from her past alike.

Both of them know the clock is ticking down to the moment when the city is wiped off the map.

Now, they’re in a race against time. To find each other. To escape the past. And to save the future.

There are many ways to get your own copy of Steel Time!

Read on for the opening to Steel Time!

Continue reading

FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018 Schedule

FanX 2018 author imageThis weekend I will be attending my second FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (formerly Salt Lake Comic Con)! My husband joins me at this con, and we use it as our annual anniversary celebration because it falls near the date of our wedding. We have a great time people-watching, spending too much money on nerdy things, and catching up with friends. My husband refers to himself as my sherpa-slash-arm candy while I promote my writing, and this year, I’m excited to have our friends Lauren and Chad fly out with us.

I will be presenting on the alternate history genre and participating in a few panels. You’ll also definitely be able to find us at anything related to the Geek Show Podcast to support our buddies there. Schedule and additional details below.

I acknowledge that there has been some controversy surrounding this convention due to harassment issues between guests and fans that were not resolved satisfactorily during or after the 2017 event. While I am not 100% satisfied with the way things turned out after the issues last year (from what I know through the press and the Internet grapevine, at least), I do see that changes have been put in place that will hopefully make the 2018 event a success for all involved. For example, I personally know two of the people on the new community council and trust in them to help the convention through these issues. Though this is a larger convention (by many magnitudes) than the others I attend, my usual policy still stands: If you feel unsafe in any way, even if it’s just mildly uncomfortable, you can find me and I will be your new best friend (and help you out with whatever steps you need to feel safe). Fandom is a community, and communities look out for each other.

To anyone who might be at this convention, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a drink, or even just to chat, especially since this is the one event a year that I’m not on the Easy Coast! I’d love to meet you. This applies to pretty much anytime I’m not busy. Facebook and Twitter DMs will be the best way to reach me before or during the event.

Thursday, September 6

  • 4 PM: Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (Room 150G)
    • Join author and editor J.L. Gribble as she leads an interactive presentation on alternate history as a genre, subgenre, and storytelling technique, using examples from all forms of pop culture media. Appropriate for authors and readers. Hosting and color commentary provided by comedian Jay Whittaker.
  • 5 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)

Friday, September 7

  • 5 PM: Avengers, Re-Assemble! Infinity War and Beyond (Room 151D)
    • With the fate of the universe (well technically, half of it) hanging it the balance will the Avengers be able to put their differences aside and become The Universe’s Mightiest Heroes? In this panel we will discuss what we think/hope we can expect from the next Avengers movie as well as the movies leading up to and following ‘Avengers TBA’!
    • With Robert J. Defendi  (moderator), Jacob Dietz, Christian Lambert, McCord Larsen, Cameron McVey, and Travis Tate
  • 7 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)
  • 8 PM: Get Your Geek Off: Two Teams Debate Random Topics Suggested by the Audience (18+) (Room 251A)
    • With Shannon Barnson, Scott Drakeford, Kerry Jackson (moderator), Jimmy Martin, Kyle J. Steenblik, Jay Whittaker

Saturday, September 8

  • Wandering around and having fun!