- - April 28th, 2015
Welcome to a behind-the-scenes post on how maps get created in the Orbit universe. I thought A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER (US | UK |AUS) was the perfect opportunity to do a write-up on, because the map design even made it to the cover. I’ll be your narrator, and welcome Author Alex Marshall, and illustrator Tim Paul.
LP: People often ask how we decide which books are going to have maps, and most times it is author-driven. Some authors use mapmaking as part of their worldbuilding process, and some authors only have a more general idea of geography as they’re writing. If a map or diagram comes naturally out of a story, then I always like to create something to expand the reader’s experience of the book. And sometimes a “map” is not really a map – for example we’ll be doing a process post soon on BLACK WOLVES (US | UK | AUS) by Kate Elliott – that book has tattoo designs for each important clan in the book in lieu of a geographic map.
In the case of A Crown for Cold Silver, I knew the author had a very specific concept for the map, and when I want the author and map maker to work together directly, my go-to artist is Tim Paul. I’d actually known Tim for a few years for his more stylized illustrations. One day we were sitting at the Society of Illustrators in NYC, at some art event or another, and he was saying he was dragging out all his old Dungeon Master props and maps to start up a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. He was talking about how much he enjoyed geeking out on the mapmaking, and my head snapped over to him and I said, so….you like making maps huh? Have you ever illustrated one for a client? (See, networking is real!)
TP: Hurray for networking, and talking about yourself!
LP: Map illustrators are a special – and rare – breed. You have to really be into the process of drawing the map out of the author, and tolerate a lot of fine-tuning. If you aren’t really excited by that, then you burn out quite quickly on all the revisions. You have to love the collaboration process. Many illustrators feel map work isn’t as creative as other types of illustration, but good mapmakers know there’s a lot of room for artistic license.
TP: It’s true about being a rare breed. I’ve had lots of illustrators tell me they won’t touch maps, and those few that do try, end up deciding not to do them again. As one person described, it’s like doing 50 – 100 little illustrations that are always changing. I actually find drawing thousands of little trees and mountains relaxing, even as I strive to make each mountain unique.
I’ve played D&D since I was 14. The maps in the books and modules were one of my favorite aspects. As a kid, I always made my own maps and worlds. Surprisingly, it took a long time to put my love of making my own maps into another way to making a living with my art. Read the rest of this entry »
- - April 21st, 2015
Today marks the publication of the first three parts of K. J. Parker’s brand new fantasy epic, THE TWO OF SWORDS – a war story on a grand scale, told through the eyes of soldiers, politicians, victims and heroes. A new instalment will be released every month.
To celebrate the launch of this new serial novel – and after keeping his identity a closely-guarded secret for 17 years – K. J. Parker has finally cast off his Cloak of Invisibility and revealed his true identity. Jared Shurin has all the details . . .
- - April 17th, 2015
We’ve announced the acquisition of two new science fiction books from Ann Leckie, the author of the award-winning ANCILLARY JUSTICE and ANCILLARY SWORD (US | UK | ANZ). One of them will take place in the same universe as the Ancillary books, while the other will be a brand-new science fiction novel. Both books will be published in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Check out the coverage at io9 and the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.
- - April 16th, 2015
For all you Witcher fans out there counting down the days until the new game arrives, you now have TWO reasons to be excited for May 19th. Orbit is ecstatic to announce the acquisition of SWORD OF DESTINY, to be released in ebook simultaneously with the game. So much Witcher packed into one day!
In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection The Last Wish, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike…
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.
For new and returning fans, SWORD OF DESTINY is the perfect new addition to The Witcher series! Look for the print edition online and in stores this December.
Also, check out CD ProjektRed’s trailer (NSFW) for The Witcher: Wild Hunt here!
Praise for the novels of The Witcher:
“Like Mieville and Gaiman, Sapkowski takes the old and makes it new.”
— Foundation (UK)
“The character interplay is complex, unsentimental and anchored in brutal shared history. All bodes well for twisty plotting to come.”
“Sapkowski revitalizes the genre with energetic and compelling writing. A breath of fresh air in a well-worn genre. Don’t miss it!”
— Dreamwatch (UK)
- - April 15th, 2015
We announced today that the new work by World Fantasy Award-winning author K.J. Parker would be serialized digitally, followed by a print and digital release when the story is completed.
The first three installments of The Two of Swords will be published on April 21st, with new installments released monthly through the rest of the year. Each will be published internationally.
The writing of the full The Two of Swords cycle has not yet been completed. While Parker knows how the story will end, there are many routes the characters could take to get there. The Two of Swords’s cast is large even for an epic fantasy story, with the viewpoint perspective changing in each installment.
Parker has won the World Fantasy Award twice in consecutive years (2012, 2013) for the novellas “A Small Price To Pay For Birdsong” and “Let Maps to Others.” Parker’s books often take place in fantasy worlds where the stories center around complex politics, rather than quests, and may not feature magic at all. The Two of Swords, too, will feature a cast of complex personalities, telling the story of an epic war through the eyes of both its heroes and its victims.
Read Publishers Weekly‘s coverage of the story for quotes from K.J. Parker and publisher Tim Holman. Information about The Two of Swords and K.J. Parker is available at TwoOfSwords.net, which also provides links for preorder and purchase, and a place for readers to gather and discuss each installment as it releases. Installments of The Two of Swords will be available wherever e-books are sold.
- - April 15th, 2015
We’re thrilled to be able to show you the cover for WAKE OF VULTURES: a rich, dark fantasy of destiny, death and the supernatural world beneath the surface, coming from Orbit in October 2015.
Cover design by Lauren Panepinto.
We are unbelievably excited for this truly one of a kind fantasy, and we know you will be too! Because as Chuck Wendig put it, “Hot damn, this book is good.”
Advance praise for WAKE OF VULTURES:
“I don’t care what else you’ve seen in the bookstore today. Buy this book because it’s the thrilling, delightfully written, and important one you’ve always wanted to read.”
— Kevin Hearne
“Wake of Vultures doesn’t just fly — it soars. Lila Bowen brings in a wild fantasy quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, with a voice that’s weird and wonderful. Bowen is truly a talent to watch. Hot damn, is this book good.”
— Chuck Wendig
“Sharp as a silver Bowie and unsentimental as a stray bullet, Lila Bowen’s Nettie Lonesome earns a place among the legends of the Weird West.”
— Matthew Stover
“Wake of Vultures is a ferocious, fascinating take on the magical Old West – creatively and unsentimentally grim, yet rich with hope and heart.”
— Cherie Priest
- - April 14th, 2015
A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER (US | UK |AUS) is a particularly special new epic fantasy, and we’re thrilled to be releasing it today in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. NPR Books published a glowing review this morning, saying “It’s a vibrant book, and a generously lush one…A Crown for Cold Silver drags epic fantasy through the mud — but it does so with wit, wonder, and wisdom.”
A Crown for Cold Silver will grab you from its first bloody pages and surprise you many times over as unconventional hero and supreme badass Cold Zosia embarks on her quest to destroy those who have taken everything from her. To celebrate the release of this spectacular story, we’d like you to meet the author, Alex Marshall!
How did the idea for A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER form – was it a particular scene or character that occurred to you, or was there a particular moment when you knew that this was the book you were going to write?
I work in a very linear fashion, so the first things that came to me became the first scenes in the book: the classic fantasy set-up of a bloodthirsty horde descending on a tranquil hamlet, but with an older woman as the sole survivor of the assault, instead of a young hero.
Is that something that appeals to you, subverting the tropes of the genre?
I’d say my chief concern is always to create interesting characters and present them with interesting problems. I do my best to let the characters determine the plot, whether that means subverting the conventions of the genre or playing along with them. That said, I’m trying to tell new stories here instead of just retelling old ones, so Crom help any innocent tropes that might get in the way.
There are so many formidable and fantastic characters in this book – a barbarian addicted to intoxicating insects, a shaman who eats demons for breakfast, a retired warrior queen who faked her own death – do you have favourites?
My favourite may be Zosia, the former warrior queen with the devilish canine companion, Choplicker – she’s the lynchpin to the whole novel, a very conflicted character, and writing her scenes was always intense and illuminating.
Read the full interview here.
- - April 10th, 2015
The first round of voting for the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy is now open, and Orbit is very pleased to say we have a range of authors across the three categories: the Legend Award, the Morningstar Award and the Ravenheart Award.
Voting is open until 15 May, and the shortlist for each of the three categories will be announced on the 1 June. Winners will be announced at the Nine Worlds Geekfest in August.
Gemmell Legend Award – Best Novel
THE WIDOW’S HOUSE by Daniel Abraham (UK | US | AUS)
THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE by Terry Brooks (UK | AUS)
THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan (UK | US | AUS)
A DANCE OF GHOSTS by David Dalglish (UK | US | AUS)
JUSTICE by Ian Irvine (UK | US | AUS)
THE LASCAR’S DAGGER by Glenda Larke (UK | US | AUS)
THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN by Brian McClellan (UK | US | AUS)
REIGN OF ASH by Gail Z. Martin (UK | US | AUS)
THE FALCON THRONE by Karen Miller (UK | US | AUS)
CROWN OF RENEWAL by Elizabeth Moon (UK | AUS)
ARCANUM by Simon Morden (UK | US | AUS)
THE FREE by Brian Ruckley (UK | US | AUS)
TOWER LORD by Anthony Ryan (UK | AUS)
THE BROKEN EYE by Brent Weeks (UK | US | AUS)
Morningstar Award: Best Debut Novel
AGE OF IRON by Angus Watson (UK | US | AUS)
Ravenheart Award: Best Fantasy Book Cover Art
Kirk Benshoff: THE WIDOW’S HOUSE by Daniel Abraham (UK | US | AUS)
Kirk Benshoff, Gene Mollica, and Michael Frost: A DANCE OF GHOSTS by David Dalglish (UK | US | AUS)
Kirk Benshoff and Raphael Lacoste: THE FALCON THRONE by Karen Miller (UK | US | AUS)
Nick Castle and Nik Keevil: TOWER LORD by Anthony Ryan (UK | AUS)
Wendy Chan: JUSTICE by Ian Irvine (UK | US | AUS)
Bastien Lecouffre Deharme: THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE by Terry Brooks (UK | AUS)
Lee Gibbons and Duncan Spilling: THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan (UK | US | AUS)
Lauren Panepinto and Larry Rostant: THE FREE by Brian Ruckley (UK | US | AUS)
Lauren Panepinto, Gene Mollica, and Michael Frost: THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN by Brian McClellan (UK | US | AUS)
Lauren Panepinto, Silas Manhood, and Shirley Green: THE BROKEN EYE by Brent Weeks (UK | US | AUS)
Larry Rostant and Sean Garrehy: REIGN OF ASH by Gail Z. Martin (UK | US | AUS)
Larry Rostant and Ceara Elliot: AGE OF IRON by Angus Watson (UK | US | AUS)
Duncan Spilling: ARCANUM by Simon Morden (UK | US | AUS)
Steve Stone: THE LASCAR’S DAGGER by Glenda Larke (UK | US | AUS)
Paul Young: CROWN OF RENEWAL by Elizabeth Moon (UK | AUS)
- - April 9th, 2015
“With the Crescent City series, Painter proves herself a master of Urban Fantasy, creating a darkly gorgeous new world, richly drawn characters, and nonstop action.”
— Kristen Callihan
“[Kristen Painter’s] rich, modern storytelling lays out an intricate plot layered with plenty of action and intrigue. Exquisite characters lie at the center of this story… From the first page, House of the Rising Sun is truly a superb and exciting read.”
— RT Book Reviews (4.5 Stars), Top Pick!
Readers and reviewers alike have been raving about Kristen Painter’s Crescent City series, and as of this week, the wait is over! GARDEN OF DREAMS AND DESIRES (US | UK | AUS) is available, and now you can collect the entire trilogy from any of your favorite retailers.
New to the series? Read an excerpt from the first book, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, here!
Praise for the Crescent City series:
“I tore through Painter’s new series. Best new urban fantasy out there!”
— Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author
“Urban fantasy fans will enjoy entering Painter’s vividly drawn world.”
— Library Journal
“Painter creates an intricate, well-crafted plot, along with compelling, distinctive characters and an enthralling twist… this story will definitely have readers turning pages all night!”
— RT Book Reviews
- - April 8th, 2015
Following on from the successes of Glenda Larke and Trudi Canavan in two important Australian fantasy awards, we’ve also had fantastic news regarding two UK SF awards.
Today, the shortlist for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke awards has been announced. Both THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (UK | US | ANZ) by M. R. Carey and THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST (UK | US | ANZ) by Claire North are amongst the six titles nominated for this prestigious prize. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on 6th May 2015.
On the weekend, ANCILLARY SWORD (US | UK | ANZ) by Ann Leckie also won the BSFA award for Best Novel, voted on by members of the British Science Fiction Association and Eastercon. Ann Leckie’s first novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS) also won this award last year, (along with every other major SF award in 2014!). Here are both of Ann’s raygun-tastic awards looking all nice and shiny together . . .
Congrats to Ann Leckie, Claire North, M. R. Carey and all the other shortlisted authors!