17 Author Book Giveaway (including Cold Magic)

This is an awesome giveaway: Sixteen authors of novels historical, fantastical, and adventurous have combined (the winner gets all 17 novels).

Look at these gorgeous book covers!

Look at these fabulous novels!

THE LANTERN by Deborah Lawrenson
NY Times bestseller modern gothic novel of love, secrets, and murder—set against the lush backdrop of Provence
THE FIREBIRD (ARC) by Susanna Kearsley
A twin-stranded story that blends modern romance with 18th-century Jacobite intrigue, traveling from Scotland to Russia, from the NY Times bestselling author of The Winter Sea
In Regency England, at the dawn of the industrial era, magic and technology clash and the fate of the nation rests in the hands of a penniless young woman
COLD MAGIC by Kate Elliott
An epic adventure fantasy with a decidedly steampunk edge where magic – and the power of the Cold Mages – hold sway
THE MAPMAKER’S WAR by Ronlyn Domingue
A mesmerizing, utterly original adventure about love and loss and the redemptive power of the human spirit–releases March 5th!
DRACULA IN LOVE by Karen Essex
“If you read only one more vampire novel, let it be this one!” -C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen & The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
RED, WHITE AND BLOOD by Chris Farnsworth
High-octane supernatural thriller, a sequel to The President’s Vampire
The House of Velvet and Glass weaves together meticulous period detail, intoxicating romance, and a final shocking twist in a breathtaking novel that will thrill readers
from the author of bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL (ARC) by Carolyn Turgeon
The Fairest of Them All is an inventive, magical fairy-tale mash-up about Rapunzel growing up to be Snow White’s stepmother, out in August 2013 from the author of Godmother and Mermaid
A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra–and lost for 2,000 years by bestselling novelist M.J. Rose
Combining elements of traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery and historical fiction, Thieftaker will appeal to readers who enjoy intelligent fantasy and history with an attitude
GLAMOUR IN GLASS by Mary Robinette Kowal
Glamour in Glass follows the lives of the main characters from Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence
Devil’s Gate is exhilarating urban fantasy, with first class writing and characters that are unforgettable beyond the last page
THE CROOKED BRANCH by Jeanine Cummins
“Wonderfully written, with strong, compelling characters, it is a deeply satisfying combination of sweeping historical saga and modern family drama, a gentle reminder of the ever-reaching influence of family”–Booklist
The story of Isabella, Lady Trent, the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist, and her thrilling expedition to Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever
In the tradition of early Anne Rice, a gorgeously written sequel to The Taker that takes readers on a harrowing, passion-fueled chase that transcends the boundaries of time.


The contest runs from March 1 – 15 and winner(s) will be notified within 48 hours. We’ll give away one set of books per 500 entries.

Enter by using the form below. Please note that this contest is open to residents of the US, Canada and the UK only and by entering, you agree to be added to the authors’ mailing lists (don’t worry; you can always unsubscribe from any mailing list at any time).

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N. K. Jemisin’s THE SHADOWED SUN: Giveaway

Through the unexpected generosity of my publisher, I have ended up with two copies of N.K. Jemisin’s THE SHADOWED SUN, second book in The Dreamblood duology.

That means I have to GIVE ONE AWAY.

The first volume, THE KILLING MOON, I described in this way (on the front cover of the USA trade paperback): “The world is so fully fleshed out that I could breathe its spices . . . Jemisin proves yet again that she is one of the most important new writers in fantasy today.”

As an experiment, I’m going to try a “write a review” giveaway.

The rules:

To enter, write a review of a book and post it on your blog, Live Journal, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Amazon, Library Thing, or another such site. The review does not have to be long (I know that long reviews are time consuming to write, so a short one is okay as is a long one) but it can’t be just a starred rating. The content of the review doesn’t matter–that is, it doesn’t have to be positive although it CAN be positive 🙂 .

Then post a link to the review either here or on my live journal mirror. (Don’t link to an old review, please.)

I think and talk a lot about visibility and how visibility affects careers. So my preference would be that you review a book by a woman writer OR by a man writer who is not one of the usual bestsellers whose books are reviewed umpteen times. [I won’t name names.] But, any new review will count.

In today’s publishing world, I think the hardest thing for a writer is being invisible — unknown — not seen. Talking up books helps both readers and writers. So, write and post a review, and you have a chance to win a copy of this FABULOUS novel.

USA and International entries (I’m mailing from the USA) welcome. Draw will be random number from entries received.

Giveaway ends in one week, Sunday 11 June 9 pm HT (Hawaii Time).


Helen Lowe Guest Post Giveaway Winners

Last week, Helen Lowe wrote a lovely guest post on World Building, which included a giveaway both of her books and mine.


The winners were chosen by a random number generator from the comments both on wordpress blog and on livejournal (where it is mirrored).


The winners are:
– TeriC wins the Heir/ Crossroad 1 or Spiritwalker 1 set
– Jeff wins the Gathering / Crossroad 2 or Spiritwalker 2 set

Contact me to collect your books!

Congrats to the winners and our thanks to all of you who left comments.

Also, my thanks again to Helen for joining us.

Guest Post by Helen Lowe on Worldbuilding + a joint giveaway

I would like to welcome fantasy writer Helen Lowe. Her second novel, The Gathering of the Lost, is recently released by Orbit Books, and I’m pleased to be able to highlight Helen, her books, and her thoughts on world building.

Below the guest post you will find a joint giveaway. You need only comment to enter.


Building Fantastic Worlds—“It’s A Mystery”

By Helen Lowe


Over the past few weeks, at various stops on The Gathering of the Lost blog tour, I have discussed a number of facets of the story, including environment, war, romance, history, adventure and writing strong women characters. Yet all these aspects could equally well apply to any writing genre, from contemporary realism to crime to historical fiction. The element that really distinguishes FSF, especially when a story departs from this-world-as-we-know-it, is world building.

But how do compelling and intriguing worlds come about—the ones where arguably the world is as much a character as any of the personalities that appear within the story. Logic suggests there ought to be a formula, one any aspiring world builder can follow so that adding two and two will result in—hey presto—a fantastic world. Right?

Rather than an enthusiastic and positive “yes,” my initial response is more cautious. There are certainly ingredients that distinguish the worlds that have really seized my imagination. For example, an extreme physical environment dominates Ursula Le Guin’s Winter in “The Left Hand of Darkness,” as it does Frank Herbert’s Arrakis (“Dune”) and Robin Hobb’s Rain Wilds (The Live Ships series and now the Rain Wilds Chronicles.) But before we can go “extreme physical environment: check,” we have to consider worlds like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The landscapes are reasonably diverse, but not extreme, yet Middle Earth has retained its place in our collective imagination for nearly sixty years.

When thinking about what makes the world stand out, I find myself coming back to Tolkien’s layering of myth and history in Middle Earth, which results in a sense of continuity beyond the present adventure. I also return to the strong association of “culture” with each new landscape: hobbits and the Shire; the differing elven cultures of Rivendell, Lothlorien, and Mirkwood; the dwarves of Moria and ents of Fangorn, the human societies of Rohan and those of Gondor. At one level many of these groups comprise separate species, but they are also distinct cultures; the way they both shape their world, and are shaped by it, reflects those distinctions.

Culture plays a vital role in defining Le Guin’s Winter and Hobb’s Rain Wilds, too, as does the historical and legendary continuum on Dune. So—a distinctive or extreme physical setting with a layering of myth and history, and/or culture. Perhaps some building blocks for creating fantastic worlds are emerging here.

But although the latter elements also form part of Catherynne M Valente’s Palimpsest, and to a lesser extent China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun, they pale beside the sheer imaginative creativity of both worlds: the piling of the bizarre onto the weird or downright whacky. Another building block, right—only now the author has to juggle physical extremes with those of the fantastical and it would be very easy to drop any or all of the balls. Easier still if one begins to consider Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland and Looking Glass worlds, which are based around playing cards and chess, or Paolo Bacigalupi’s Thailand where it is the vision of technological and bio-engineered genetic change that defines the world and compels the reader’s attention.

So how do the disparate elements that may—but don’t necessarily all, or always—comprise FSF world building get pulled together to create the worlds that absorb our attention and colonise our imaginations?

My short answer, culled from the film “Shakespeare In Love”, is: “It’s a mystery.” Because the actual answer seems nebulous and probably unsatisfactory—that the essential ingredient is a spark that leaps from the writer’s imagination, to the writing on the page or screen, and from there to the reader. In fact there is no formula able to guarantee that the necessary spark can and will be struck.

In terms of the “how to” employed by different authors, I suspect there are as many approaches as there are writers. Some will plan and design extensively in advance, while others allow the world, like the characters, to evolve as they write. My own world building is a mix of the instantaneous, the unexpected vision of a world or character that leaps into being, followed by the evolutionary—where the world unfolds, a little like a map unrolling, as the characters encounter it.

In terms of The Wall of Night world the first concept began long ago with a vision of a twilit, wind blasted environment garrisoned by keeps illuminated with inner light. Yet as to what lay inside the vast strongholds like the abandoned Old Keep of Winds—that knowledge only came when the storytelling began and the first characters actually went there. The world building evolved through their experiences: what each character saw, heard, smelt, touched—and was also touched by—and tasted, as well as her or his curiosity or need to learn what they did not already know.

Yet surely—you may argue—the world already exists outside the characters’ experience of it, in the author’s mind for example. And to an extent it does, in my case because of that first vision of the Wall of Night. Conversely though, the southern realms of Haarth, which come to the fore in “The Gathering Of The Lost” (The Wall of Night Book Two), and the romance of the road that stretches “from Ij to Ishnapur” evolved through the unfolding story, not via prior planning. Ursula Le Guin, in “Steering the Craft,” talks of the creative process in terms of ‘pulling ideas out of the air’—so perhaps the world of Haarth was there in the ether all along, waiting to be discovered. But after that initial flash of discovery, I had to begin the process of writing in order to explore its realms, cultures and frontiers.

I am forced to conclude that world building does contain an element of mystery. I can check all the boxes—yet still that vital spark may not be there. It occurs to me though, that I do not look on any aspect of storytelling as box checking. So perhaps that is the vital spark: whether manifesting in an instant or evolving over time, the worlds that I pull from the air have colour, texture and depth. In the moment they appear they are real. And although by no means assured, that sense of reality is the key to ensuring a world is also real on the page—and may become real for the reader as well.


Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, and interviewer, and the current Ursula Bethell Writer-in-Residence at the University of Canterbury. She has won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for both Thornspell (Knopf) in 2009, and The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) in 2011. The Heir of Night has also recently been shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award. Helen posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, on the 1st of every month on the Supernatural Underground, and occasionally on SF Signal. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we. [In the Twitter handle, the 0 is a zero, not an ‘o’]




Everyone who comments will be in the draw to win one of two book packages:

1) A copy of Helen Lowe’s The Heir of Night and a copy (your choice) of either my Spirit Gate (Crossroads 1) or Cold Magic (Spiritwalker 1)

2) A copy of Helen Lowe’s The Gathering of the Lost and a copy (your choice) of either my Shadow Gate (Crossroads 2) or Cold Fire (Spiritwalker 2)

The draw will close on May 1 at 12 midnight (Hawaii time) with the result posted here the next day. The draw to be made by Random Number Integer.

Giveaway: ARC of Touchstone, by Melanie Rawn

I recently had the pleasure of reading an ARC (advanced reading copy) of Melanie Rawn’s forthcoming novel TOUCHSTONE (Book One of The Glass Thorns).

It’s due on the shelves in February 2012.

Because this time of year in the USA (and other places as well) is the season of gift giving, I’m giving away the ARC.

Rules (ETA: Yes, it’s open internationally)

1) Post a comment to enter (either here or on my LiveJournal mirror)

between now and midnight on December 25.

2) On December 26 I will announce the winner (drawn randomly from all entries) on this blog (they’ll then need to contact me so I can mail them the ARC).


Here is the back of the book description:

Cayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard–and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high-society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and his troupe is something very special.

The four of them intend to enter the highest reaches of society and power, but not the way Cade’s mother thinks they should. They’ll be the greatest players of all time, or die trying.

Come experience the magic of Touchstone: wholly charming characters in a remarkably original fantasy world. You’ll never want to leave.


Here’s what I said:

Melanie Rawn is in her usual fine form with a vivid world and thoroughly captivating characters. A masterful blend of plot, character, and setting makes reading seem effortless in this tale of four young men devoted to the magical theater of their world. Rawn’s skill as a writer brings you right onto the stage with them.


And here’s the Publishers’ Weekly review:

Rawn takes heroic fantasy to its logical conclusion, creating a lived-in world where the scars from magical wars still linger and pure blood is a thing of the distant past. Cayden Silversun is the playwright and manager of the up-and-coming magical theater group Touchstone, alongside his friends Rafe and Jeska and the startlingly talented Mieka Windthistle. Despite their differences, wild Mieka and sensible Cade become fast friends. Shunned by his family, Cade is driven to prove himself, pushing Touchstone to ever greater heights. But as their fame grows, so do Mieka’s drug abuse and self-destructive behavior. Cade, troubled by prophetic visions of Mieka’s possible futures, wonders whether he has the right—or the obligation—to interfere with his impetuous friend’s choices. This strong, heartfelt, and familiar performer’s tale is full of astonishing promise, powerful but co-dependent friendships, insecurity, and addiction, and it will appeal to fantasy fans and theater lovers alike. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011