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The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

THE WATER KNIFE Paolo Bacigalupi

The electrifying new thriller from multi-award winning author of The Windup Girl

NEMESIS GAMESJames S. A. Corey

The exhilarating fifth novel in James S. A. Corey’s New York Times bestselling Expanse space opera series.
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Welcome to Night Vale: Waterstones Exclusive Edition, Guest Stars and More…

If you’re looking forward to October’s release of WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL as much as we are, you can listen to an audio excerpt from the book in the latest episode of this international no. 1 hit podcast! Listen at Youtube, iTunes, Soundcloud or Podbay.

We can confirm that the audiobook will be read by Welcome to Night Vale star Cecil Baldwin, with guest stars from the podcast including Retta and Dylan Marron, the voices of ‘Old Woman Josie’ and ‘Carlos’.

Remember you can preorder the audiobook as well as the hardback and ebook right now. What are you waiting for? As Cecil might say, the stars are aligned and now is your moment. Tomorrow may be too late…

In this latest episode the authors also announced our Waterstones Exclusive Edition, which contains exclusive bonus material and the chance to win a limited edition Night Vale print on preorder!

Karen_Miller-THUMB--cr-Mary-GT-Webber

Orbit Fantasy Workshop with Karen Miller

Have you always wanted to write your own fantasy novel? Have you got some great characters and plot lines bouncing around in your head that won’t leave you alone? Have you written a few stories but finally want to get going on your first real masterpiece? This is your chance . . .

I’m delighted to say that today we’re kicking off the Orbit Fantasy Writing Workshop.

This is a communal online write-along event, designed to get the creative juices flowing for aspiring fantasy authors worldwide.

It’s a great opportunity to finally put pen to paper, and get some advice on what makes a great story. Sitting down and writing can be tough, but it’s easier when you know there are many other people like you going through the same thing at the same time. So get involved and get writing today!

The Challenge

I’m setting you a specific challenge – to write 2,000 words of your very own fantasy novel by the end of next Monday, 3rd August. But I have some guidelines:

Since one of the most vital things about what makes a novel tick is the characters, I’d like you to write a scene which shows how one of your characters is morally conflicted i.e. a scene in which they’re torn between doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, or the wrong thing for the right reasons.

This could be a scene merely made up of a conversation between one or more other characters. It could show a character’s actions on a battlefield. It could be a tale of an assassin who shows mercy, or an honourable champion doing something terrible. It could have an epic fantasy feel, a coming-of-age feel or an urban fantasy feel. So long as it’s a fantasy scene which shows characters that are neither obviously good nor bad, it will fit the bill.

We hope this workshop inspires you to get writing – because that should be a highly rewarding experience in itself. But there is a competition element to this too.

The Competition

Once you’ve written your 2,000 word sample as per the above challenge, you can either just sit back and admire your work – or you can submit it into our competition. The Orbit team will read every submission that is entered (submissions must be a maximum of 2000 words). And along with the Orbit folk, I will be picking one entry to win a series of in-depth editorial sessions about their writing with myself and an Orbit editor.

This is your chance to have your writing read by industry experts and receive feedback that could set you on the path to writing your own bestselling fantasy novel. An entry form will be posted on this site on Friday 31st July, and entries can be submitted until the end of 3rd August.

Advice Along The Way

The Falcon Throne, an epic fantasy novel from Karen MillerI hope to be able to offer some helpful guidance over the coming week for any budding authors who get involved. My own writing career so far, from writing my debut THE INNOCENT MAGE (US | UK ) to my latest novel THE FALCON THRONE (US | UK | AUS), has been a wild ride. And if a new writer can be helped by something I’ve said, it will make all the hard work worthwhile.

Throughout this week I will be providing words of advice and encouragement on the Orbit site and on the Orbit Twitter feed (though there’s no requirement to be on Twitter to take part). Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, or use the hashtag #OrbitFantasyWorkshop to let us know how your writing is coming along. And if you’d like to ask any specific questions about writing during the week, you can ask me them directly in the Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session I’m doing this Wednesday. I’m here to help, so fire away!

Let’s get going!

So where to begin? The answer is to pick up your pen and start writing. And in order get your ideas in line, see my first piece of advice here on Writing Your First Fantasy Novel.

Cover Launch for WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL

From the creators of the wildly popular WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves – no matter where we live. WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL will be released on 20th October in hardback, audio and ebook, but you can preorder your copy now.

We’re delighted to launch the UK and Australian cover today, wonderfully illustrated by Rob Wilson, designer of the original Night Vale logo. We asked Rob to tell us a little about the project:

“I’ve been involved with WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE since its inception, when Jeffrey Cranor asked me to design the original icon for the podcast. The writers and I worked together to create a simple, mysterious image that would convey the atmosphere of the show, without giving away any of its secrets. Years later, I’m amazed how the graphic has taken on a life of its own, with the hundreds—if not thousands—of creative interpretations of fan art it inspired. And now I’m thrilled to have been asked to design the cover of the new WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE novel and expand upon the art of the original graphic—just as the book broadens the world of the podcast. Like the original icon, the new book cover has secrets of its own.”

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink

Find out more about Rob Wilson and his designs at RobWilsonWork.com.

Find out more about the novel and preorder today: commonplacebooks.com/novel.

Meet Jon Skovron, the author of HOPE & RED

Jon Skovron - cr Ryan BenyiLast month we introduced you to HOPE & RED—an upcoming adventure fantasy series we’re incredibly excited about! We’d like you to meet the author, Jon Skovron, and hear a little more about the novel.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m originally from Ohio, although I’ve since lived in Brooklyn, Seattle, and Pittsburgh. Now I live just outside DC, with my two sons and two cats. Rather than going to a regular college, I studied in the theater conservatory at Carnegie Mellon. But after a brief stint as a professional actor, I decided on the much more practical career of author. I started writing short SF&F stories in 2000, several of which were published in now defunct zines and online venues such as Baen’s Universe, where I had the honor of appearing in the same issue as Gene Wolfe. In 2006, my agent suggested I try my hand at this new craze called Young Adult, and my first YA novel was published in 2009. I’ve had two more YA novels published since, and my fourth comes out this August. HOPE & RED will be my first novel for grown-ups.

What is HOPE & RED about?

HOPE & RED takes place in an archipelago of islands called The Empire of Storms, with warrior monks, pirates, gang lords, science mages called biomancers, and a fair amount of monsters, violence, and mayhem. But as the title implies, this is ultimately a story about Hope and Red. They both lose their parents at a young age. Both are taken in by unconventional mentors who encourage them to transgress society, but in very different ways. Red is taught to become a thief and con artist in the urban slums, where he is fiercely loyal to his adopted neighborhood of Paradise Circle. Hope is secretly trained on a remote island as a warrior in an elite order that has specifically banned women. She seeks vengeance against the biomancer who murdered not only her parents, but her entire village.

When the biomancers team up with the gang lord of Paradise Circle to consolidate power, Hope and Red’s worlds come crashing together, resulting in a quest for justice that leads them all the way to the imperial palace.

Why did you decided to write HOPE & RED as an adult novel, rather than YA?

Don’t get me wrong. I adore writing YA, and will continue to do so. YA and adult Fantasy have a lot of similarities. But they also have some key differences. By nature, YA is all about teens. I wanted to write story that took these two characters from age eight all the way into adulthood. Also, YA is intensely story-focused. I love the lean efficiency of it. But this time I wanted to write a book where the world was rich and immersive, with a long, compelling history. Something you couldn’t see the edges of. I wanted characters that were complex and nuanced and broken. And frankly, I just wanted to write something R Rated, and not have to worry about gatekeepers.

There’s an lot of swashbuckling, sea-faring adventure in this book. Do you have any personal experience with sailing?

Quite a lot, actually. My grandfather was passionate about ships and sailing. When I was a boy, he often took me sailing for days on end. He taught me how to sail, of course, as well as all the parts of the ship, and odd little sailor adages that linger in my mind to this day. He was also a musician, so he’d often bring along his accordion, and we’d sing sea chanties once the sun went down.

 HOPE & RED will be published next summer. For more news and updates, follow the author on Twitter.

New Acquisition: THE WAKING FIRE by Anthony Ryan

Drum roll please! We’re delighted to announce the acquisition of a spectacular new series from Anthony Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy.

What do you do when you’ve written three of the most popular epic fantasy novels in recent years? Well, if you’re Anthony Ryan, you write something even more epic – and throw lots of dragons in for good measure. Not to mention an extremely liberal dose of exploration and adventure, agents and espionage, ingenious weapons and explosive magic…and an ancient myth that might prove decisive in the furious battle for empire. Sounds good, right?

THE WAKING FIRE, the first book in the Draconis Memoria series, has all of this and much, much more.

Anthony has always created memorable characters, and the protagonists of his latest tale are his finest creations yet. Clayton Torcreek is a straight-talking small-time criminal, while Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin. Both of them are ‘Blood-blessed’ – able to consume the blood of wild drakes, which grants them spectacular abilities.

As the Ironship Protectorate and the Corvantine Empire prepare for war, these two individuals will both find themselves embroiled in the ongoing hostilities. Clay must venture into the uncharted wilds in search of an expedition that disappeared under mysterious circumstances, while Lizanne must go undercover in enemy territory in order to locate an ancient artefact that may just swing the balance of the war – but only if she can reach it first.

THE WAKING FIRE is, quite simply, an absolute blast. Existing fans and new readers alike will find a huge amount to love about this fantastic new series.

Orbit acquired UK & Commonwealth rights to the Draconis Memoria series from Paul Lucas at Janklow & Nesbit, in a three-book deal. THE WAKING FIRE will be published in July 2016, in hardback, trade format, ebook and audio editions.

Anthony Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of BLOOD SONG [UK/ANZ], TOWER LORD [UK/ANZ] and QUEEN OF FIRE [UK/ANZ]. He lives in London and is a full time writer. He can be found on Twitter as @writer_anthony

SWORDS AND SCOUNDRELS…Introducing the Duellists series by Julia Knight!

En garde! We have something very exciting in store for fantasy fans this Autumn . . .

Announcing the Duellists trilogy – a brand new adventure fantasy series from the hugely talented British author Julia Knight.

This year we’ll be releasing not just one, but all three books in this fast and furious series – full of ruffians, scoundrels and rogues . . . and more action than you can shake a very pointy stick at!

The three books are as follows:

SWORDS AND SCOUNDRELS (UK | US | ANZ) – October 2015

LEGENDS AND LIARS (UK | US | ANZ) – November 2015

WARLORDS AND WASTRELS (UK | US | ANZ) – December 2015

So what’s the series about? Well, it follows two former champion duellists, a brother and sister named Kacha and Vocho. They’re down on their luck – and have been forced to become reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plan to win back fame and notoriety go south fast . . . and they’ll find themselves mixed up in a plan to reclaim a stolen throne.

Covers for the Duellists books by Julia Knight - Swords and Scoundrels, Legends and Liars and Warlords and Wastrels

The world-building in this series really draws you in and the dynamic between the characters is superb – I can’t wait for you guys to meet Kacha and Vocho. If you’re into the likes of Douglas Hulick, Scott Lynch and Brandon Sanderson then this will be right up your street. And what’s great is, you’ll be able to get your hands on the whole series fast!

Look below for more details and to see the covers in full. You can follow Julia on Twitter as @Knight_Julia and her series is available for pre-order now . . .
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Launching into Orbit: July 2015

Acquired: Madness, Mayhem, and K.S. Merbeth

Merbeth author photo 1Even after Mad Max: Fury Road has been in theaters for months, people still cannot stop talking about it — the amazing world, the non-stop action and best of all, the strong female main character. So what better than to acquire a book perfect for fans of that kind of post-apocalyptic madness and mayhem?

BITE by K.S. Merbeth is a dark debut with an edge of black humor that will sweep you off your feet:

“Need a ride?”

Kid has no name, no family and no survival skills whatsoever. But that hasn’t stopped her from striking out on her own in the wasteland that the world has become.

But when Kid accepts a ride from two strangers, she suddenly becomes the newest member of a bloodthirsty raider crew. Dragged on a messy chase, through shoot-outs and severed limbs, the group must outrun everyone they’ve wronged. But in a world that’s lost its humanity, not everything is as it seems and this time it isn’t monsters that crave flesh….

Debut author K.S. Merbeth paints a world that is both fascinating and unnervingly possible. Acquired by Orbit in a two-book deal from Emmanuelle Morgan at Stonesong, this blockbuster will hit shelves summer 2016!

The Expanse at SDCC!

It was great seeing so many of you at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend. For those of you who couldn’t make it this year, we brought you back a souvenir!

Check out DRIVE by James S. A. Corey on Syfy.com. This free short story is set 150 before the events of LEVIATHAN WAKES (US | UK | AUS) and concerns the invention of the Epstein Drive.

We also brought back pictures of Syfy’s Expanse Cafe, which you can check out on the James S. A. Corey Facebook fan page.

The main event of the weekend was The Expanse panel where the first episode was screened in its entirety. While you’ll have to wait until December to see it on television, you can check out some of the panel highlights and reviews by io9 and B&N’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog right now!

Last but certainly not least, Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive on a new extended trailer. Go. Now. Watch. Is it December yet?

Helen Lowe’s DAUGHTER OF BLOOD: Announcing Release Date and Cover!

We are delighted to share our cover for DAUGHTER OF BLOOD, the third instalment in Helen Lowe’s David Gemmell Award-winning series, the Wall of Night.

This much-anticipated and thrilling epic fantasy will be released on 26th January 2016, but you can preorder it today!

Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe

A failing wall, a broken shield, and an enemy that will exploit every weakness . . .

Malian and Kalan have recovered two of the three legendary weapons of the Derai, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, fractured by centuries of blood feud and civil strife, is on the verge of falling.

Meanwhile, among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. A daughter of the House of Blood must be married to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family’s ambition, and Kalan is caught in a political web he may not be able to escape.

While even as Malian dodges Darkswarm pursuers in her search for the Shield of Heaven, rumour whispers that it may be broken beyond repair – and she herself may be the blade the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

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