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Author: Adron Buske

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The Fictitious podcast, hosted by Adron Buske, delves into the craft of Science Fiction and Fantasy storytelling through interviews with authors and other professional writers. These conversations examine the writing process, techniques, and work habits of passionate creators and explore their most recent, and most popular, works.
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I’m joined in this episode by Suyi Davies Okungbowa, author of SON OF THE STORM. In the thriving but socially stratified city of Bassa, a young scholar named Danso struggles with family expectations and cultural pressures. Worse, he’s discovered lost historical lore at odds with the approved political narrative—knowledge he’s sworn to forget, but cannot let go of. The course of his life alters when he encounters a skin-changing warrior who, by all accounts, shouldn’t exist. The journey that follows sets Danso against an enormous conspiracy, of violently suppressed histories, elicit magic, and forbidden lands. Their efforts could reshape an empire—or cost them everything. The first book in THE NAMELESS REPUBLIC fantasy series, SON OF THE STORM arrives May 11th from Orbit Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  Mentioned in this Interview Read Suyi’s Goodreads post about terms used in this story and their cultural origins. About Suyi Davies Okungbowa Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian author of fantasy, science fiction and general speculative fiction inspired by his West-African origins. His godpunk fantasy debut novel David Mogo, Godhunter (Abaddon, 2019), won the 2020 Nommo Ilube Award for Best Speculative Novel by an African. His shorter fiction and nonfiction have appeared internationally in periodicals like, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, and anthologies like Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda (Marvel/Titan, 2021) and Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy (Saga, 2020). As a speaker and instructor, Suyi teaches college-level writing, earning his MFA at the University of Arizona. He has guest-lectured public workshops at venues like the Piper Writing Centre at ASU and the Tucson Festival of Books, as well as appeared at various conferences, conventions, readings and school visits, including at the University of Washington and the University of Chicago. His work has earned him features in the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR and a Carl Brandon Society scholarship. Follow Suyi Davies Okungbowa Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile »  Goodreads About SON OF THE STORM From one of the most exciting new storytellers in epic fantasy, Son of the Storm is a sweeping tale of violent conquest and forgotten magic set in a world inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa. In the ancient. city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy. But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.
My guests this episode are Caitlin Starling and Genevieve Gornichec, two of the authors of WALK AMONG US. This collection of novellas is set in the world of VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE, the popular modern horror roleplaying game franchise. (Content note: the third contributing author to this collection, Cassandra Khaw, was scheduled to appear in this interview but had to cancel because of a conflict.) Each of these three novellas explores the world of the Masquerade from unique and unusual angles: a depressed and lonely college student seeking companionship finds herself groomed for radicalization; an arrogant silicon valley data genius seeks eternal life—and influence—through the Embrace, without regard for the price of immortality; and on an Oregon commune, a progressively-minded shepherd tends to their human flock, but ethics and appetite are uncomfortable bedfellows at the secret blood farm. Originally published as an audio-only collection, WALK AMONG US arrives in print and eBook on May 4th from Harper Voyager: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Genevieve Gornichec Genevieve Gornichec earned her degree in history from The Ohio State University, but she got as close to majoring in Vikings as she possibly could, and her study of the Norse myths and Icelandic sagas became her writing inspiration. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The Witch’s Heart is her debut novel. Follow Genevieve Gornichec Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About Caitlin Starling Caitlin Starling writes horror-tinged speculative fiction of all flavors. Her first novel, The Luminous Dead, won the LOHF Best Debut Award and was nominated for both the Bram Stoker and Locus Awards. She has two gothic horror tales forthcoming: Yellow Jessamine (novella, Neon Hemlock, out now) and The Death of Jane Lawrence (novel, St Martin’s Press 2021), as well as a novella in the Vampire: The Masquerade audio collection, Walk Among Us. Her nonfiction has appeared in Nightmare and Uncanny. Caitlin also works in narrative design, and has been paid to invent body parts. She’s always on the lookout for new ways to inflict insomnia. Follow Caitlin Starling Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About ‘WALK AMONG US’ One of the most popular role-playing properties in the world gets new life with this trio of horror novellas set in Vampire: The Masquerade’s World of Darkness by three brilliant talents: Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling The subtle horror and infernal politics of the World of Darkness are shown in a new light in Vampire: The Masquerade: Walk Among Us, an audio-first collection of three novellas that show the terror, hunger, and power of the Kindred as you’ve never seen them before. In Genevieve Gornichec’s A SHEEP AMONG WOLVES, depression and radicalization go hand-in-hand as a young woman finds companionship in the darkness… In Cassandra Khaw’s FINE PRINT, an arrogant tech bro learns the importance of reading the fine print in the contract for immortality… And in Caitlin Starling’s THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, ideals and ethics bump heads with appetite on a blood farm. Three very different stories from three amazing, distinct voices, but all with one thing in common: the hunger never stops, and for someone to experience power, many others are going to have to feel pain.
I’m joined in this episode by Jackson Ford, author of THE FROST FILES modern day sci-fi series, which follows the misadventures of telekinetic and involuntary government operative Teagan Frost. The series includes THE GIRL WHO COULD MOVE SH*T WITH HER MIND and RANDOM SH*T FLYING THROUGH THE AIR, both of which are available now. The third book, EYE OF THE SH*T STORM, arrives April 27th from Orbit Books. Where to purchase these books: Book 1 — THE GIRL WHO COULD MOVE SH*T WITH HER MIND: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound Book 2 — RANDOM SH*T FLYING THROUGH THE AIR: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound Book 3 — EYE OF THE SH*T STORM: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Jackson Ford Author. Tall. Basketball-player-length arms. Lots of tattoos. Bad hair. Writes the ongoing Frost Files series. The series has been picked up for TV by CBS/Secret Hideout. Government name: Rob Boffard. Under that name, wrote the Outer Earth series (Tracer, Zero-G, Impact, Echoes 2015-2016) and Adrift (2018). Proud South African. Born in Johannesburg. Splits time between London and Vancouver. Visited forty-plus countries. May or may not have been banned from some of them over a horrible misunderstanding about burning cars. Former journalist and editor. The Guardian. Wired Magazine. The BBC. IO9. Huck Magazine. The Master Switch. Noisey. Boat Magazine. Many more. Award winner. Dumb question asker. Editor botherer. Source finder. Wrongs righted. Justice dealt. Follow Jackson Ford Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE GIRL WHO COULD MOVE SH*T WITH HER MIND For Teagan Frost, sh*t just got real. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers – a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once. But then a body turns up at the site of her last job – murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding…
I’m joined in this episode by J.S. Dewes, author of THE LAST WATCH. This science fiction adventure starts on the very edge of the universe, where a lonely military ship sits watch over the Divide. It’s a quiet, isolated life for a bunch of misfit soldiers dropped where they can’t cause any more problems. Quiet, until the Divide itself starts to collapse, and they find themselves unable to send warnings or signal for help, and with very limited chance of escape. With everything at stake, the ship’s commanding officer must rally every bit of ingenuity, competency, and courage from her crew of castoffs and exiles. Because the very survival of humanity depends on them. THE LAST WATCH is fast-paced, character-driven space opera. It’s the first book in THE DIVIDE series, arriving April 20th from TOR books. Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  Mentioned in This Episode X-MIND — mind mapping software About J.S. Dewes J.S. Dewes is an author, cinematographer, and video editor with a degree in film production from Columbia College Chicago. Jenny cut her narrative teeth writing scripts for award-winning feature films and shorts which have screened at festivals and conventions all across the United States. A creative a heart, she enjoys video games, drawing, photography, graphic design, Pinterest, and all things visual. Follow J.S. Dewes Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE LAST WATCH The Expanse meets Game of Thrones in J. S. Dewes’s fast-paced, sci-fi adventure The Last Watch, where a handful of soldiers stand between humanity and annihilation. The Divide. It’s the edge of the universe. Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it. The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military. At the Divide, Adequin Rake commands the Argus. She has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted. Her ace in the hole could be Cavalon Mercer–genius, asshole, and exiled prince who nuked his grandfather’s genetic facility for “reasons.” She knows they’re humanity’s last chance.
I’m joined in this episode by Eli Brown, author of ODDITY. This historical fantasy for young readers shows us an alternate 1800s North America where the Louisiana Purchase failed. With the land divided, the return of war between the States and France looms large, and the woods are patrolled by soldiers and terrifying animal constructs. The young Clover Elkin flees across these borderlands, away from evil men who killed her father, and searching for answers—about her family’s mysterious past, and the single, necessary thing her father swore her to protect. Because this is a world of Oddities — mundane objects possessed of strange and miraculous powers. Accompanied by a talking rooster, a teenage charlatan, a super-strong rag doll, and a venomous viper, Clover must learn the truth of her Oddity, or become a pawn in a war for a nation’s history. ODDITY is a middle grade fantasy tale of wit, wonder, and danger, available now from Walker Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Eli Brown As a child, Eli Brown’s imagination was set ablaze by the mythologies of the world. He was particularly interested in magical objects, such as Odysseus’s bag of wind, Arjuna’s Bow, Bilbo’s ring, and Jack’s beans. Brown’s culinary pirate novel, CINNAMON AND GUNPOWDER, was a finalist for the California Book Award, a San Francisco Public Library One-City One-Book selection, and an NPR Book Review Staff Pick. Brown’s first novel, THE GREAT DAYS (Boaz Publications), won the Fabri Prize for Literature. Publishers Weekly called it “…a harrowing, convincing look into the heart of cult life that should linger with readers.” A Yaddo fellow and featured reader at Litquake, Brown earned his MFA from Mills college. He lives with his family in Northern California where the squirrels bury acorns in his garden and cats bury worse. Follow Eli Brown Website Twitter Amazon Profile » Goodreads About ODDITY The daughter of a murdered physician vows to protect the magical Oddity he left behind in an alternate nineteenth century where a failed Louisiana Purchase has locked a young Unified States into conflict with France. It’s the early 1800s, and Clover travels the impoverished borderlands of the Unified States with her father, a physician. See to the body before you, he teaches her, but Clover can’t help becoming distracted by bigger things, including the coming war between the US and France, ignited by a failed Louisiana Purchase, and the terrifying vermin, cobbled together from dead animals and spare parts, who patrol the woods. Most of all, she is consumed with interest for Oddities, ordinary objects with extraordinary abilities, such as a Teapot that makes endless amounts of tea and an Ice Hook that freezes everything it touches. Clover’s father has always disapproved of Oddities, but when he is murdered, Clover embarks on a perilous mission to protect the one secret Oddity he left behind. And as she uncovers the truth about her parents and her past, Clover emerges as a powerful agent of history.
I’m joined in this episode by Neal Shusterman, author of GAME CHANGER. This young adult sci-fi novel follows Ash, a pretty average middle class kid with few ambitions beyond winning football games and hanging out with his friends. That all changes when a hard hit on the football field alters Ash’s world, but in a way only he seems to notice. Suddenly all the stop signs are blue and, to his rising anxiety, nobody thinks that’s weird or even remembers them being red. Another game, another impact and Ash’s world shifts more dramatically. Now he drives a fancy car, his parents have money, his difficult brother has a good relationship with him. But in this new version of his world, he’s also made some terrible and dangerous choices—ones that affect this friends, his community, and his safety. With each dimensional transition, Ash sees his life and perspectives alter more radically. In every world that is almost, but not quite, his own, he is challenged by his shortcomings, and the ways he has let down those he loves most. Ash will need to harness his dimension-hopping ability swiftly, or risk letting his true life vanish entirely from existence. GAME CHANGER is introspective and propulsive YA sci-fi, published by Quill Tree Books and available now: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Neal Shusterman Neal Shusterman is the New York Times best-selling author of over thirty novels for children, teens, and adults. He won the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for Challenger Deep-and his novel, Scythe, was a 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor book—and is in development with Universal Studios as a feature film. His novel, Unwind, has become part of the literary canon in many school districts across the country-and has won more than thirty domestic and international awards. He co-wrote his most recent novel, Dry, with his son Jarrod, and in addition to being on numerous award lists, Dry is currently in development with Paramount Pictures. His upcoming novel, Game Changer, is in development with Netflix as a TV series, and he is co-writing the pilot episode. Follow Neal Shusterman Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About GAME CHANGER All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it. Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own. The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes. And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence… This high-concept novel from the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Arc of a Scythe series tackles the most urgent themes of our time, making this a must-buy for readers who are starting to ask big questions about their own role in the universe.
In this episode, I’m joined by Sarah Beth Durst, author of THE BONE MAKER. In this standalone Fantasy novel, a team of renowned heroes are reunited after 25 years to avenge a painful loss and once again face a dangerous force of dark magic. But the decades between a great victory and their reunion have not been kind—to their minds, bodies, and friendships. And some of them are willing to break the most sacred laws of their land to restore what they love most. THE BONE MAKER is available now from Harper Voyager: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Sarah Beth Durst Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty-two fantasy books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Queens of Renthia series, Drink Slay Love, and Spark. Her last book, Race the Sands, was named an Amazon Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of the Year, one of Buzzfeed’s Must-Read Fantasy Books for April 2020, was included in Kirkus Reviews’ Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Reads for April 2020, and so much more. She has won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Nebula Award three times. Sarah is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. Follow Sarah Beth Durst Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE BONE MAKER From award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst, a standalone epic fantasy set in a brand-new world of towering mountains and sparkling cities, in which a band of aging warriors have a second chance to defeat dark magic and avenge a haunting loss. Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less. She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives. But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all. Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”
I’m joined in this episode by C.L. Clark, author of THE UNBROKEN,  a brutal and complex military fantasy novel that follows a colonial soldier returned to the homeland she was stolen from, and a princess in search of a turncoat to help throw her uncle off the throne. The first book in the MAGIC OF THE LOST series, THE UNBROKEN arrives March 23rd from Orbit Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About C.L. Clark C.L. Clark graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, FIYAH, PodCastle and Uncanny. Follow C.L. Clark Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE UNBROKEN In an epic fantasy unlike any other, two women clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire. Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought. Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.
In this episode, I’m joined by T. Frohock, author of the LOS NEFILIM series. This historical dark fantasy series—set first in 1930s Europe—started with the novellas IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE, WITHOUT LIGHT OR GUIDE, and THE SECOND DEATH. All of which have been collected into the LOS NEFILIM OMNIBUS. The series continues with the full length novels WHERE OBLIVION LIVES and CARVED FROM STONE AND DREAM. The saga concludes in the World War 2 era with A SONG WITH TEETH, which is out now from Harper Voyager: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound Other Los Nefilim Books: IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE (novella) » WITHOUT LIGHT OR GUIDE (novella) » THE SECOND DEATH (novella) » LOS NEFILIM OMNIBUS (all novellas collected) » WHERE OBLIVION LIVES » CARVED FROM STONE AND DREAM » » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About T. Frohock T. Frohock has turned a love of history and dark fantasy into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. A real-life cyborg, T. has a cochlear implant, meaning she can turn you on or off with the flick of a switch. Make of that what you will. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Follow T. Frohock Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads ABOUT THE LOS NEFILIM SERIES Welcome to the world of Los Nefilim—Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. This is a series of stand-alone novellas and novels, meaning you can read them in any order, kind of like the old pulp novels of the 1930s. Bred for war by the angels and the daimons, the Nephilim use the power of their voices as the basis of their magic. Many of the Nephilim belong to the Inner Guard and operate as a central intelligence agency for the angels, monitoring daimonic activity and working to curtail it. The Spanish division of the Inner Guard is Los Nefilim. Los Nefilim’s hero, is Diago Alvarez. Born of daimon and angel, Diago is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has been charged with locating The Key: a special chord that will enable the nefilim to manipulate the realms as the angels do. With that secret chord, the nefilim hope to reshape the mortal realm to protect the mortals from future angelic wars.
I’m joined in this episode by Claire Holroyde, author of THE EFFORT. In this spec-fic / sci-fi novel, the Earth is threatened by an extinction level event when an 8 kilometer “dark” comet emerges from behind the sun on a rapid collision course with our planet. Immediately after discovery of the comet, an international coalition of scientists is assembled and nicknamed The Effort. Under the leadership of NASA’s Dr. Benjamin Schwartz—a specialist who has spent years modeling impact scenarios—The Effort are tasked with nothing less than assuring the survival of humanity. But their mission, which would require years of preparation under any reasonable circumstances, has only months before the insane velocity of the comet brings it within range. At Ben’s side are the most powerful minds in space travel and nuclear science, supported by his tech recruiter girlfriend Amy Kowalski, the brilliant poly-lingual Kenyan interpreter Love Mwangi, and the might of the United Nations. Against them are political power structures unwilling to commit resources, global chaos erupting as the world population faces the reality of extinction, and the ticking countdown of precious time slipping away. Near the north pole, a Coast Guard ship full of climate scientists investigates the withering ice and dying animal life. Cut off from land and family, photojournalist Jack and marine biologist Maya stoke the flickering sparks of romance amid a suffocating, existential despair. And in New York City, Love’s girlfriend Rivka struggles to survive in a city falling to violence and starvation. THE EFFORT is apocalyptic fiction focused on truly human stories, how we survive together or die divided, protecting the disappearing beauty of our fragile world, or succumbing to annihilation. It’s available now from Grand Central Publishing: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Claire Holroyde Claire Holroyde is a writer, graphic designer, and storyteller living in the Philadelphia metro area. Follow Claire Holroyde Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads About THE EFFORT For readers of Station Eleven and Good Morning, Midnight comes an electric, heart-pounding novel of love and sacrifice that follows people around the world as they unite to prevent a global catastrophe. When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter’s orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billiontimes the energy of an atomic bomb. What would happen to Earth’s seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur? Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China’s national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time. Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself. Their mission is codenamed The Effort.
I’m joined in this episode by Eugen Bacon, author of THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP: AND OTHER STORIES. This collection of speculative short fiction features over 20 tales that blur the line between reality and mythology, full of humans possessed of unusual gifts, immortals shackled with ageless curses, children born of dangerous secrets, and lovers whose tangled passions spiral to dream and dread. In “A Nursery Rhyme”, a mother must face a tragedy in her household, born of a darkness and grief she was never allowed to feel. In “A Maji Maji Chronicle”, a wizard from the future visits the Africa of the past to teach his son the most important lessons of magic—and inadvertently alters the pattern of history. In “A Case of Seeing”, a detective must use her paranormal ability to solve a murder mystery, while confronting difficult truths revealed by her gift. In “Being Marcus”, a  physical trainer ruminates on his origins in Ancient Rome, and how a legendary betrayal confined him to an everlasting cycle of longing and loneliness. With lyrical prose and lushly evocative atmospheres, these stories explore grief and healing, love and infidelity, and challenge how we envision our role in relationships and our own futures. THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP weaves magical realism, horror, science fiction, and many shades in between. It’s available now from Meerkat Press: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About Eugen Bacon Eugen M. Bacon, MA, MSc, PhD, is African Australian. A computer graduate mentally re-engineered into creative writing, she studied at Maritime Campus, less than two minutes’ walk from The Royal Observatory of the Greenwich Meridian. Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans. Out now: Writing Speculative Fiction, Red Globe Press (Macmillan). Claiming T-Mo, Meerkat Press. In 2020: Her Bitch Dress, Ginninderra Press. It’s Folking Political, Ginninderra Press. The Road to Woop Woop & Other Stories, Meerkat Press. Hadithi, Luna Press Publishing. Ivory’s Story, Newcon Press. In 2021: Speculate, Meerkat Press. Black Moon, IFWG. Follow Eugen Bacon Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads About THE ROAD TO WOOP WOOP: AND OTHER STORIES Eugen Bacon’s work is deemed cheeky with a fierce intelligence in text that’s resplendent, delicious, dark and evocative. NPR called her novel Claiming T-Mo ‘a confounding mysterious tour de force’. The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories imbues the same lushness in a writerly language that is Bacon’s own. This peculiar hybrid of the untraditional, the extraordinary within, without and along the borders of normalcy will hypnotize and absorb the reader with tales that refuse to be labelled. The stories in this collection are dirges that cross genres in astounding ways. Over 20 provocative tales, with seven original to this collection, by an award-winning African Australian author.
In this episode, I’m joined by Nicky Drayden, author of ESCAPING EXODUS, and its new sequel, SYMBIOSIS. This sci-fi duology explores a human civilization built entirely inside colossal, space-faring beasts. The impetuous young Seska Kayleigh is a child of privilege and heir to the matriarchal throne of her people. As their recently relocated colony carves out a new city from the guts of their living host, Seska teeters between duty and scandal, engaging in romance with a girl from a lower caste. Sturdy beastworker Adalla would spend her days laboring in the very heart of the beast, a dangerous and important job. But she’s also Seska’s best friend. The young women’s burgeoning romance threatens both their social standings and their lives in the strict and cruel hierarchy of their society. When their ill-advised adventures uncover alarming secrets about the nature of their home, Seska and Adalla find themselves caught up in political machinations, family double-crosses, and lower caste uprisings. Can their love survive revolution and their own selfish choices? And how will their revelations reshape their world? ESCAPING EXODUS is wildly imaginative space opera  and is available now. The sequel, ESCAPING EXODUS: SYMBIOSIS, arrives on February 23rd from Harper Voyager: Amazon Bookshop Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores. ABOUT NICKY DRAYDEN Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel THE PREY OF GODS is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks, and with her new novel ESCAPING EXODUS, she’ll be taking her weirdness off-world to a civilization living inside the gut of moon-sized space beast. FOLLOW NICKY DRAYDEN Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads ABOUT ESCAPING EXODUS Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion. Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void. Then, Seske is unexpectedly thrust into the role of clan matriarch, responsible for thousands of lives in a harsh universe where a single mistake can be fatal. Her claim to the throne is challenged by a rival determined to overthrow her and take control—her intelligent, cunning, and confident sister. Seske may not be a born leader like her sister, yet her unorthodox outlook and incorruptible idealism may be what the clan needs to save themselves and their world. ABOUT ESCAPING EXODUS: SYMBIOSIS Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success. The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly—a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before—and could cost him his reign and his heart. He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske. Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors.
In this episode I’m joined by Marshall Ryan Maresca, author of THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION. This dieselpunk fantasy novel follows Wenthi, a loyal patrol officer and talented cycle rider, who is sent undercover to infiltrate revolutionary biker gangs. The vibrant city of Ziaparr stands at a crossroads — recovering from long years of warfare and reclaiming a place in the world and its nations. But it’s dominated by a rigid caste system that elevates some ethnic groups to power and privilege, and drives others into slums and poverty. Insurgent gangs, connected by a mysterious voice on the radio, mount their bikes to attack the status quo. When the city patrol takes a rebel captive, Nália, they discover the gangs are using a street drug to magically connect their minds and sense their pursuers.  Wenthi’s mission requires that he use the drug to connect with Nália, to use her knowledge to gain the trust of the rebellion. But this deep connection with intensifies with every high speed ride. Nália haunts his mind even as he becomes closer to the band of revolutionaries he’s honor-bound to betray. Wenthi must choose between two paths—between his sworn duty, and the true justice being denied. The wrong turn could put him and his city on a collision course with disaster. THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION is high octane fantasy that is available now from DAW Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: four braided series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine, which includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew, and The Way of the Shield. He is also the author of The Velocity of Revolution, and has been a playwright, an actor, a delivery driver, and an amateur chef. Follow MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads About THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION Ziaparr: a city being rebuilt after years of mechanized and magical warfare, the capital of a ravaged nation on the verge of renewal and self-rule. But unrest foments as undercaste cycle gangs raid supply trucks, agitate the populace and vandalize the city. A revolution is brewing in the slums and shantytowns against the occupying government, led by a voice on the radio, connected through forbidden magic. Wenthi Tungét, a talented cycle rider and a loyal officer in the city patrol, is assigned to infiltrate the cycle gangs. For his mission against the insurgents, Wenthi must use their magic, connecting his mind to Nália, a recently captured rebel, using her knowledge to find his way into the heart of the rebellion. Wenthi’s skill on a cycle makes him valuable to the resistance cell he joins, but he discovers that the magic enhances with speed. Every ride intensifies his connection, drawing him closer to the gang he must betray, and strengthens Nália’s presence as she haunts his mind. Wenthi is torn between justice and duty, and the wrong choice will light a spark in a city on the verge of combustion.
I’m joined in this episode by THE MASK OF MIRRORS author M.A. Carrick, which is a pseudonym for the co-writing team of Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. The first book in the ROSE & ROOK fantasy trilogy, THE MASK OF MIRRORS follows Ren, a girl who forcibly escapes the slums of Nadezra to save herself and her sister from life in an abusive gang. She later returns to Nadezra, though, under a new identity, and with a new goal: Con her way into the most vulnerable noble house and amass her own personal fortune. But Ren soon learns that her marks are playing plenty of games of their own. Some may win her affection, while others weave layers of deceit. Figuring out who to trust becomes crucial as Ren finds herself caught up in aristocratic feuds and social upheaval, between virtuous lawmen and charming crime lords, and in the company of a mysterious vigilante. All while nightmarish magical corruption threatens this, the city of dreams, and all of Ren’s carefully laid plans. It will take all her talents and cunning to ward off destruction—because, in Nedezra, fortune favors the bold, but magic favors the liars. THE MASK OF MIRRORS is an intricate fantasy novel, published by Orbit Books and available now: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  Mentioned in This Video M.A. Carrick’s Advice for Writing Collaborations About M.A. Carrick M.A. Carrick is the joint pen name of Marie Brennan (author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent) and Alyc Helms (author of the Adventures of Mr. Mystic). The two met in 2000 on an archaeological dig in Wales and Ireland — including a stint in the town of Carrickmacross — and have built their friendship through two decades of anthropology, writing, and gaming. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow M.A. Carrick Website Twitter Amazon Profile Goodreads Follow Marie Brennan Website Twitter Follow Alyc Helms Website Twitter
In this episode I’m talking with C.M. Waggoner, author of THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY. In a fantasy equivalent of Victorian London, fire witch and all-around disaster human Dellaria Wells is in a bit of a jam. Delly’s good-for-nothing mum’s gone and got hooked on the Drip. Her vindictive landlady has cursed Delly with weeping pustules if she doesn’t scrounge up the rent money. And her perhaps less than legal or strictly moral attempts to generate some coin land her in the too familiar clutches of the constables. But Delly finds a potential solution to all her problems in the employ of a reputable house, joining a retinue of bodyguards defending a soon-to-be-wed young lady. Her new co-workers are a curious lot, a collection of women with surprising talents and confounding backgrounds. Delly summons her few shreds of dependability—and her not-insignificant talents as a fire witch—eager to score a hefty payment, and the attentions of a high-class romantic prospect amongst the bodyguards. What looks like an easy job quickly turns mighty dangerous, though, as monstrous, mechanical things of nefarious magical origin set upon the traveling ladies. Delly soon realizes that illegal magics are only the first of their worries, as she and her companions get caught up in a murderous plot by a violent, enigmatic foe whose agents lurk all around them. THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY is a twisty, romantic, and whimsical fantasy adventure, out now from ACE Books: Amazon » Bookshop » Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  ABOUT C.M. WAGGONER C.M. Waggoner wrote her first uncomfortable third-person bio in 2019, when it was attached to her debut novel, UNNATURAL MAGIC. Her second book, THE RUTHLESS LADY’S GUIDE TO WIZARDRY, came out in January 2021. She’s also working on a third novel and messing around with an extra project with 200% more wicked witches and handsome princes in it than all of her previous efforts combined. FOLLOW C.M. WAGGONER Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile » Goodreads  
In this episode I’m talking with B.B. Alston, author of AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS. Amari is a 13-year old girl from the projects, attending a private school on scholarship. Her academic career sits in the shadow of her genius brother, Quinton, who graduated top of his class and fielded Ivy League offers. But after taking a mysterious job offer, Quinton has gone missing. His disappearance hangs heavily on Amari’s shoulders.  When an altercation with elitist bullies costs Amari her scholarship, she and her over-worked nurse mother face a long summer trying to figure out how to pay for school. But everything changes when Amari receives a highly unusual, for-her-eyes-only delivery. The briefcase from her brother contains several eye-opening surprises, including a nomination for something called the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.  Amari discovers a hidden world around her—of magicians and monsters, faeries and aliens, marvelous machines and devious dangers—managed and defended by the Bureau. As a young recruit, she’ll meet friends and make enemies among kids who’ve known magic their entire lives. And, if fitting in wasn’t already hard enough, she soon discovers her own magical talent is quite illegal.  Surrounded by adversaries in a supernatural world under threat of a powerful evil force, the challenges are overwhelming. But if Amari doesn’t succeed in the Bureau’s tryouts, she may never find out what happened to her beloved brother. AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS is a middle grade fantasy novel, available now from Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins:  Amazon Bookshop Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.  About B.B. Alston B.B. Alston started writing in middle school, entertaining his classmates with horror stories starring the whole class where not everyone survived! After several years of trying to break into publishing, he had just been accepted into a biomedical graduate program when a chance entry into a twitter pitch contest led to his signing with TBA, 20+ book deals worldwide, and even a film deal. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead. B.B. was inspired to write AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS because he couldn’t find any fantasy stories featuring Black kids when he was growing up. He hopes to show kids that though you might look different, or feel  different, whatever the reason, your uniqueness needn’t only be a source of fear and insecurity. There is great strength and joy to be found in simply accepting yourself for who you are. Because once you do so, you’ll be unstoppable. Follow B.B. Alston Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads  
I'm joined in this episode by Joshua Phillip Johnson, author of THE FOREVER SEA. This startlingly unique fantasy novel takes place in a water-scarce world completely covered by endless vegetation, where—instead of oceans—magically powered ships sail seas of miles-tall prairie grass. Kindred Greyreach is a sailor and young apprentice hearthfire keeper, using fire and bone fueled magic to power a harvesting vessel. But Kindred's deep understanding of the fire's own mystic language is unique among keepers—as is her creative, impulsive, and sometimes dangerous approach to solving problems. Kindred learns that her estranged grandmother—a venerable ship's captain and hearthkeeper—willingly stepped off her own boat and disappeared into the vast sea. But she learns that what appears to be suicide may have been her grandmother's quest to discover something hidden in the depths below. Chasing her grandmother's cryptic legacy forces Kindred to the center of a cultural water war, pushes her past safe seas to a mythic pirate city, and drives her to battle with great beasts of the deep. But will the answers she seek be worth the sacrifice of everything she loves — her ship, her found family, a life sailing under the sun — or does madness await in the endless dark depths? THE FOREVER SEA is a debut fantasy novel and first in a series of the same name, available January 19th from DAW Books: Amazon Bookshop Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million IndieBound » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I strongly encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely. About Joshua Phillip Johnson Joshua Phillip Johnson lives in a little green house on what used to be the prairie with his partner and their child. His work has appeared in Syntax & Salt, The Future Fire, and Metaphorosis Magazine, among others. He teaches at a small liberal arts university. The Forever Sea is his first novel. Follow Joshua Phillip Johnson Website Twitter Instagram Amazon Profile Goodreads About THE FOREVER SEA The first book in a new environmental epic fantasy series set in a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea. On the never-ending, miles-high expanse of prairie grasses known as the Forever Sea, Kindred Greyreach, hearthfire keeper and sailor aboard harvesting vessel The Errant, is just beginning to fit in with the crew of her new ship when she receives devastating news. Her grandmother—The Marchess, legendary captain and hearthfire keeper—has stepped from her vessel and disappeared into the sea. But the note she leaves Kindred suggests this was not an act of suicide. Something waits in the depths, and the Marchess has set out to find it. To follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Kindred must embroil herself in conflicts bigger than she could imagine: a water war simmering below the surface of two cultures; the politics of a mythic pirate city floating beyond the edges of safe seas; battles against beasts of the deep, driven to the brink of madness; and the elusive promise of a world below the waves. Kindred finds that she will sacrifice almost everything—ship, crew, and a life sailing in the sun—to discover the truth of the darkness that waits below the Forever Sea.
Greta Kelly is the author of the debut fantasy novel, THE FROZEN CROWN. Violently displaced from the wild beauty of her homeland by a ruthless conqueror, the young princess Askia seeks support from a neighboring nation to the south. But in sun-soaked Vishir, where nobles live lavishly while refugees starve, Askia finds herself a blunt object amongst a court of delicate manners and fragile alliances.    The princess urgently needs Vishir's armies to intervene before her country burns. Yet first she must navigate a court that harbors too many enemies, including a vindictive royal son, the hateful mouthpiece for her northern aggressor, and the religious zealots who murdered her parents.    Her allies complicate matters, too. A friendly prince whose attentions invite scandal. Her loyal captain whose devotion barely overshadows his longing. An enigmatic Queen who may be mentor or manipulator. And the ghost of her best friend—an apparition only she can see, because Askia carries her own carefully guarded secret. She is a witch, in a world where magic can be a powerful tool—or a death sentence.    As every advancing day threatens the annihilation of her army, Askia will face an impossible choice. But will any sacrifice be enough to satisfy two opposing emperors and save her people?   THE FROZEN CROWN is the first novel in a duology, available January 12th from Harper Voyager:    Amazon: Bookshop: Barnes & Noble: Books-a-Million: IndieBound:   » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I *strongly* encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely.   ABOUT GRETA KELLY   Greta K. Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with offerings of too-beautiful-to-use journals and Butterfingers candy. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband EJ, daughter Lorelei and a cat who may, or may not, control the weather.   FOLLOW GRETA KELLY   Website: Twitter: Instagram: Amazon Profile: Goodreads:
In this episode I’m talking with Cass Morris, author of GIVE WAY TO NIGHT, the sequel to the historically-inspired fantasy FROM UNSEEN FIRE.  This series, called the AVEN CYCLE, explores a Roman-esque empire filled with divine and elemental magics, dangerous political machinations, and rising war between cultures and territories. Several years of harsh dictatorship have unbalanced the powerful city of Aven. But now, the Dictator is dead, and the resulting power vacuum draws in the late-ruler's allies and enemies to struggle for control of the Republic. Latona of the Vitelliae is a mage of Spirit and Fire, married off to a minor, indifferent noble to keep her life and talents free of notice. But with the dictator finally gone, Latona and her canny, gifted siblings can throw off the objections of society to seize a greater destiny for their people. Sempronius Tarren is an exiled but ambitious senator seeking influence in Aven. But in a political system that refuses office to those who possess magical talent, he hides a dangerous secret—a blessing from the gods that shows him shadows of possible futures.  Conjoined by politics, complicated by romance, Latona and Sempronius must work together to protect the Republic. But can cunning wit and divine magic stand strong against foes that wield brutal violence and wicked sorcery?  GIVE WAY TO NIGHT is the 2nd novel in the AVEN CYCLE series, and is available now from DAW Books: Amazon: Bookshop: Barnes & Noble: Books-a-Million: IndieBound:   FROM UNSEEN FIRE is available now:   Amazon: Bookshop:   » Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I *strongly* encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely.   MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO:   AirTable database software:   World Building for Masochists podcast:   ABOUT CASS MORRIS   Cass Morris works as an educator in central Virginia and as a bookseller on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She holds a Master of Letters from Mary Baldwin University and a BA in English with a minor in history from the College of William and Mary. She reads voraciously, wears corsets voluntarily, and will beat you at MarioKart.    FOLLOW CASS MORRIS   Website: Twitter: Instagram: Amazon Profile: Goodreads:   FOLLOW FICTITIOUS   Fictitious Twitter: Adron’s Twitter: Instagram: Website:
BLACK CANARY: BREAKING SILENCE author Alexandra Monir talks about writing for the DC Icons young adult series, adapting the fan-favorite Black Canary and Court of Owls in a prose novel, and how she got the job of writing a major media tie-in.   This DC Icons young adult novel reimagines the fan-favorite DC comics superhero Dinah Lance as a teenager living in a near-future dystopian Gotham City.   Decades ago, Gotham and its vigilante heroes fell to a violent shadow organization called the Court of Owls. The Court has reshaped the city in their patriarchal image, setting up a cruel and vindictive autocracy. Dissenters are punished by superhuman enforcers called Talons. And women in particular have been subjugated—not just with the removal of rights and freedoms, but by having their abilities of music and singing artificially stifled.   Seventeen year old Dinah is fortunate to have been educated by her parents about life before the Owls took over. A childhood experience—hearing the forbidden, beautiful, impossible sound of a woman singing—drives Dinah to seek out truths the Owls have buried. Yet to resist the autocratic regime could land her, her friends, and her police officer father in Arkham Asylum—or in the morgue.   Dinah must find a way to unleash the incredible power of her own voice to combat the Court of Owls. And perhaps she can find an ally in her school’s new transfer student, a mysterious senior named Oliver Queen.   BLACK CANARY: BREAKING SILENCE is the 5th standalone novel in the DC ICONS series, and is available December 29th from Random House Books for Young Readers.
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