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Posts Tagged ‘Elliott James’

LOW ELF ESTEEM is available now!

“With each new chapter in his outstanding Pax Arcana series, James ups his game in both excellent character development and world expansion. If you love wisecracks in the face of ultimate danger, then John Charming is definitely your man!”RT Book Reviews on In Shining Armor (Top Pick! 4.5 stars)

Elliott James’s Legend Has It launched last month and if you’re wondering when you’ll get your next John Charming fix, look no further: a new Pax Arcana short story is out now, LOW ELF ESTEEM.

Low Elf Esteem is the epic finale in a series of short stories in the Pax Arcana world, introducing us to John Charming. John is a descendant of a long line Charmings—an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch finders, and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern-day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best—until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt.

  

   

“The Pax Arcana books are seriously good reads. Action, humor, and heart with unexpected twists and turns. If you are (like me) waiting for the next Butcher or Hearne — pick up Elliott James. Then you can bite your nails waiting for the next James, too.”Patricia Briggs, New York Times #1 bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series

“Loved it! Charming is a giant gift basket of mythology and lore delivered by a brilliant new voice in urban fantasy. Elliott James tells stories that are action-packed, often amusing, and always entertaining.”Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of Hounded

“I loved this book from start to finish. Exciting and innovative, Charming is a great introduction to a world I look forward to spending a lot more time in.”Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author

“James’s world is rich and complex and well worth diving into.”Richard Kadrey, New York Times bestselling author

“In a saturated literary realm, James’s tale stands out for the gritty, believable world he builds…This is masculine urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher and Mark del Franco.”Booklist

“This debut introduces a self-deprecating, wisecracking, and honorable-to-a-fault hero who can stand up to such established protagonists as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye. Combining action and romance — with an emphasis on action — this is a top-notch new series opener for lovers of urban fantasy.”Library Journal (Starred review)  

“Grab some snacks and settle back as splendid debut author James serves up a Prince Charming tale yanked sideways…James’s reluctant hero faces threats and danger with a smart-ass attitude that keeps the narrative fast-paced, edgy and amusing. Mark this name down — you will undoubtedly be seeing more from James!”RT Book Reviews

   

Is Urban Fantasy Dead? Or Undead?

We remember when urban fantasy first arrived on our shelves, but the genre has changed significantly since then. Are these stories still popular? If so, why? We asked some of Orbit’s authors for their take on the genre’s past, present and future.

Where does urban or contemporary fantasy come from?

JIM BUTCHER, author of the bestselling Dresden Files, as well as recent adventure fantasy THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS

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‘Urban fantasy is nothing more or less than the resurgence of fairy tales. We’ve changed what our big bad wolves look and act like, and our forests appear somewhat different than they used to, and Little Red Riding Hood is generally much more heavily armed than she has traditionally been, but we’re telling the same stories, in the same ways, with the same emphasis on the fantastic and the terror and delight of its clash with our everyday world.

It’s the everyday reality that so many of us find terrifying – to such a degree that we flee to tales of vampires and werewolves and dark sorcerers just to lighten the mood.’

CHARLIE FLETCHER, author of THE OVERSIGHT and THE PARADOX

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‘People have always created stories to try and make sense of stuff they could neither see nor understand. ‘Urban’ fantasy is just a logical step since as society has become less rural and more metropolitan so the old dark woods of the old fairy-stories have been replaced by a sodium-lit concrete jungle. And of course we may have moved to the cities, but we brought our darkness with us.

There’s a lot of product jammed in under the urban fantasy label that doesn’t do it for me, but the books that do mean something to me are the ones that engage creatively with the inevitable transition from the old to the new world and deal with its consequences as a central part of the story (AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman is a particularly fine and definitive example of this).’

What does the future of urban fantasy look like?

LILITH SAINTCROW, author of the Bannon and Clare Affairs and BLOOD CALL, as well as many other urban fantasy series

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‘I think the last five years, as with any shiny new trend, have brought a certain amount of reader fatigue. Urban fantasy isn’t going away, but it’s not so much of a Wild West ‘let’s throw a vampire in there and hope it sticks!’ anymore. Which is very good, if sometimes frustrating when paranormal or urban fantasy is what you want to write.

After working in publishing for so long, I see “urban fantasy” as a genre title, nothing less, nothing more. There’s always a market for tales well told, and urban fantasy, like any genre, offers a set of tools and toys for a writer to play with.’

BENEDICT JACKA, author of the Alex Verus novels

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‘I’d have trouble pinning down exactly how urban fantasy’s changed over the last five years, but I’m pretty sure that it’ll stay popular for the foreseeable future. The mash-up nature of urban fantasy lets it evolve easily, and the sources it draws on (comic books, games, epic fantasy) still have a lot of resonance for city-dwellers. So while I’d expect the type of urban fantasy stories to shift over time, I think the genre will stick around for a good while yet.’

PATRICIA BRIGGS, author of the Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha and Omega series

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‘There isn’t a reader appetite for urban fantasy the way there used to be. Five years ago, any book that was urban fantasy was guaranteed a certain number of readers. I think, and it is not a bad thing, that readers are pickier now. For me as a reader, right now, what I love about urban fantasy is that there are so many good storytellers working in this field. Good stories still work and can still find an audience, though it might take longer to find a readership than before.

One of the things that I actually like about this is that we are seeing more diversity in books that are published again. I love, love, urban fantasy. But I also love space opera, traditional fantasy, and contemporary fantasy – and those genres were getting drowned.’

ELLIOTT JAMES, author of CHARMING

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‘I like to read stories where the extra-ordinary and the ordinary mingle. Some people sneer at escapist literature, but “escape” implies relief, release, and freedom, none of which are bad things. Escape also inevitably holds a mirror up to the thing being escaped from.

Urban fantasy often gives ordinary characters a chance to demonstrate extraordinary qualities. It encourages readers to examine what it means to be human through contrast or by eliminating a lot of the obvious assumptions.

There have always been stories that introduced fantastical otherworldly elements into the everyday knockabout world that we humans optimistically call reality, and I expect there always will be.’

Elliott James’s Pax Arcana series: even more Charming than before!

“The Pax Arcana books are seriously good reads. Action, humor, and heart with unexpected twists and turns. If you are (like me) waiting for the next Butcher or Hearne — pick up Elliot James. Then you can bite your nails waiting for the next James, too.” — Patricia Briggs, New York Times #1 bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series

If you, like Patricia Briggs, have been hoping for more from Elliott James’s Pax Arcana series, then rest assured! We have just acquired two more books following the adventures of John Charming. FEARLESS (US | UK | AUS), the sequel to DARING (US | UK | AUS), is out in August, with the new books to follow in 2016 and beyond.

But if your nails are too short from all the biting, there will be new short stories from Elliott James this spring! Bulls Rush In is out April 28 and Talking Dirty on May 19.

New to the series? Read an excerpt from the first book!

First Look: Fall 2014 to Winter 2015 US Covers

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Are you sitting down? If not, then you should be because these covers are going to knock you off your feet. The Orbit Art Department has again delivered some positively breathtaking jackets. Enjoy this preview of our Fall and Winter line-up with more to follow over the next few months.

Click on the images below to see a larger version and appreciate each cover in its full glory.  Let us know which books are headed to your wish list!

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John Charming has been fighting the forces of darkness for a long time – a very long time. So you could say that he’s something of an expert on the subject. So before going out tonight, check out these helpful Pro-Tips.

Okay, so imagine that it’s the seventh century.   It’s late October although they probably have a different name for that month in your village of Sucksalot, but however your calendar works, it’s that time of year when crops are dying and families are slaughtering and salting livestock so that they’ll have enough meat to survive the winter.  There are no antibiotics except for a few plants with mild anti-septic qualities and maybe a few poultices whose ingredients include boiled urine, so now that flu and pneumonia seasons are coming around, villagers are dropping like pants at a Vegas convention.   Death is everywhere, literally and symbolically.  Souls are travelling through doorways between the physical world and the spirit world a lot more frequently, and this makes it easier for metaphysical predators from the other side to slip through.

So what do you do?  Containment and appeasement rituals.  You sacrifice some of your slaughtered cattle and toss their bones in the fire so that beings who can’t physically digest the food can still mingle with its essence.  Your local priest leads crowds of children dressed like spirits from house to house to collect donations for the dead.  You hollow out turnips or pumpkins and carve scary faces into them and light fires in their center because this is symbolic of life surrounded by death, of light surviving in the darkness.

That’s the origin of Halloween.  Lighting a candle in the darkness and praying for survival.

So how can we 21st century denizens protect ourselves on a holiday that is traditionally the supernatural world’s equivalent of an office party?  Well, common sense rules like staying in well-lit areas and keeping crowds around you still apply.  The truth is, on this particular holiday it’s not about protection so much as deflection.  You’re never going to make yourself invincible – but you can make yourself less attractive.  For the spirit world, Halloween is a smorgasbord.   You don’t want to be the banana pudding with vanilla wafers crumbled in, you want to be the pickled fish that probably should have gotten tossed out a day ago.

With that in mind, here are a few basic pointers.

Tip 1:  BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE

It isn’t Santa Claus that’s coming to town, it’s spirits that can’t let go because they have unresolved issues.  We’re talking anger management, self-loathing, greed, selfishness, or revenge fantasy type issues.  The kind of souls who populate that train station between our life and the life that comes after are basically like the worst ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend that you’ve ever had.  And one of the key principles of magic is that like is attracted to like.  So on a purely pragmatic level, it might make sense to invite someone who doesn’t run very fast to come with your group so that you can leave that person behind to distract pursuers if things go to hell, but you know what?  That kind of thinking is messed up, and not all threats are physical.  That kind of thinking will cause beings looking for weak or evil minds to come knocking on your mental door.   By the same reasoning, this is a season where the worst types of cunning folk come looking for harvest sacrifices, and it’s not the best time to be a virgin.   So on one level, becoming unchaste might be logical, but you also don’t want to do anything that’s going to damage your self-esteem too close to D-Day.  There’s a line where being practical is good, but being ruthless and selfish are counter-productive.

Or to quote Austin Powers, “Oh, Behave!” Read the rest of this entry »

John Charming returns in PUSHING LUCK by Elliott James!

“I loved this book from start to finish.  Exciting and innovative, CHARMING is a great introduction to a world I look forward to spending a lot more time in.” – Seanan McGuire

I’m sure by now all of you have read and are as enthralled by Elliott James’s CHARMING (US | UK | AUS)  as I am, anxiously counting down the days until book two comes out. If this sounds like you, then the release of the newest Pax Arcana short story, PUSHING LUCK, should help you bear the wait.

PUSHING LUCK is the third in a series of short stories from our wonderful author, Elliott James, introducing us to John Charming. John is a descendant of a long line Charmings—an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch finders, and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern-day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chain mail and crossbows to Kevlar and shotguns, John Charming was one of the best—until a curse made him one of the abominations the Knights were sworn to hunt.

In PUSHING LUCK, while trying to make money off the grid, John Charming stumbles upon an underground poker tournament where the hors d’oeuvres are made of human flesh and the players are gambling with much more than their money. All bets are off.

“Loved it! Charming is a giant gift basket of mythology and lore delivered by a brilliant new voice in urban fantasy. Elliott James tells stories that are action-packed, often amusing, and always entertaining.” – Kevin Hearne, author of Hounded

PUSHING LUCK is out now in the US and releases in the UK on October 31st.

DOG-GONE by Elliott James: read it free for thirty days!

“Grab some snacks and settle back as splendid debut author James serves up a Prince Charming tale yanked sideways.” – RT Book Reviews

Who is John Charming? That’s a complicated question best answered by the man himself, but what I can tell you is that CHARMING and its connecting short fiction are tremendous fun. Here is a free preview of one of Elliott James’s short fiction, a prequel story to the upcoming novel CHARMING.

Somewhere in Alaska a locked house full of ripped apart bodies and one teacup poodle covered in blood. Somewhere in Alaska, the voice of a dead woman speaks through a car radio. And somewhere in Alaska, the last surviving descendant of one of John Charming’s only friends is being pursued by nightmare hounds. The dog days have begun.

DOG-GONE will only be available on OrbitBooks.net for a limited time. After that, you’ll have to wait until February to purchase a copy for your e-reader, but we’re convinced that once you’ve been introduced to the series, you’ll be anxious for more. We’ve gotten some terrific reviews for the first book. If you like urban fantasy, CHARMING is a “must read” this September.

Read DOG-GONE by Elliot James or check out the newly released short story, DON’T GO CHASING WATERFALLS.

More Praise for CHARMING:

“This debut introduces a self-deprecating, wisecracking, and honorable-to-a-fault hero who can stand up to such established protagonists as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye. Combining action and romance — with an emphasis on action — this is a top-notch new series opener for lovers of urban fantasy.” – Library Journal (starred review)

“In a saturated literary realm, James’s tale stands out for the gritty, believable world he builds, and provides a reason for the genre’s renewed strength. This is masculine urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher and Mark del Franco.” – Booklist

More Short Fiction by Elliot James: 

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August

September

September: NEWLY RELEASED!

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October

 

 

 

Vampires beware – a new hero has come to town: CHARMING by Elliott James

This debut introduces a self-deprecating, wisecracking, and honorable-to-a-fault hero who can stand up to such established protagonists as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye….” Library Journal (starred review)

John is not your typical prince charming figure. He’s not going to passing very many manners class, but he can kill a vampire in at least ten different ways.  Which is good because he’s going to need all of those skills in CHARMING (US | UK) by Elliott James.

Bringing a unique new spin to the familiar supernatural creatures and folklore, CHARMING is the debut urban fantasy not to be missed. Want to hear more? Read an excerpt or check out this interview with Elliot James:

What made you want to become an author?

The same things that make anyone want to become an author, really. A combination of crippling loneliness, habitual lying, greed, and delusions of grandeur. I mean, I could slather it on about how the imagination is the key to freeing the mind and all that, but let’s face it, ultimately it all comes down to the wild parties, the women, and the limos full of cash. Speaking of which, when are those getting here anyway? [Looks at watch.] Plus I like to read.

When did you start writing?

At the age of five. It was kindergarten, and I penned an opus about a backward planet where cows gave chocolate milk (I’m not sure how that’s backward, but it made sense at the time) and grown-ups went to school to get away from their jobs and learn how to play from kids. The thing I still think is kind of cool about that story is that every word was spelled backward. Or misspelled backward in many cases. After that I flirted around with writing. I had a minor fling with journalism, briefly got involved with advertising, and lived with teaching English. But I didn’t really get serious about writing until a few years ago, and then writing rejected my first proposal. Rejected quite a few of my proposals, actually. But I persisted, and now I’m ready to settle down and start having kids. Or maybe writing is. OK, I kind of lost track of the half-assed metaphor I had going there.

Read the full interview here.

If CHARMING has caught your eye, be sure to check out the earlier adventures of John Charming too in these three short stories by Elliott James:

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“What’s it about?”

The first question I get when family or friends find out that I have a novel being published is: “What’s it about?”

 So I go ahead and tell them:  “GET AWAY FROM ME!  I HAVE TO GO FEED MY TURTLES!  I’LL CUT YOU!”

Okay, that’s not true.  I just thought it was more dramatic than what I actually tell them, which is that CHARMING is about John Charming, the modern day descendant of all those characters named Prince Charming from the fairy tales.   In my fictional world, there wasn’t some crazed serial bigamist inspiring all of those different stories, there was in fact an entire family line of witch finders and dragon slayers extending through the centuries.

The next question comes in one of three variations.  People either say “Oh cool!  How did you get that idea?”  Or “Oh cool!  How come nobody has ever thought of that before?”  Or just “Oh.”

My response to that is a little more complicated.  I know there’s a lot of fairy tale stuff out there right now, and some of it I’ve read and watched and some of it I haven’t, and I talk about that in an interview in the back of my book.

I also mention that I was an army brat.  We moved pretty regularly, and my grandparent’s farm was an island of stability in my childhood, the place we always went to on vacations or between moves or when my father was going to be gone for a long time.  My grandmother was an English teacher and a pack rat, and her house was stuffed with books on folk lore and fairy tales and mythology, and not just European stories and not just children’s tales.  I’m talking the real stuff, dark stories full of fantastic places and creatures of nightmare where macabre events are described by a third person narrator with a matter of fact attitude.  That’s my happy place.   Not Christmas memories.  Not my first puppy. It’s lying on my grandparent’s porch swing reading stories that were totally inappropriate for children.

So there’s that.

And I really wanted to root my character in a literary tradition.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wanted to root my character in all literary traditions relating to folk tales and fables and myths.  I start out with vampires and werewolves, but I start introducing new/old mythological creatures into the mix pretty quickly.   Really, if I have any serious literary ambitions for my John Charming tales at all, it’s that I would like to make the urban fantasy genre as a whole a little more aware of how rich and varied the story telling traditions it’s been strip mining for vampire and werewolf stories are.  And I’m not saying that no one else is doing this.  My favorite urban fantasy authors do this.   It’s largely why they’re my favorites.

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First Looks: Fall 2013 – Winter 2014 US Covers

Winter 2013/Fall 2014

A new season of books is inbound, and it sure looks like it’s going to be an exciting one! Here’s the first crop of covers from the Fall 2013 – Winter 2014 season. We’re still putting the finishing touches on a few more, but you’ll be seeing them soon.

Because the smaller scale doesn’t do any of these fantastic covers justice, click on the images below to see a larger version. So pin, tweet, and comment to your heart’s content and tell us which books are already on your “Must have!” lists!

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