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

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

The first original novel set in the town of Night Vale.
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The exhilarating fifth novel in James S. A. Corey’s New York Times bestselling Expanse space opera series.
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Posts Tagged ‘epic fantasy’

Meet the author: Julia Knight, author of the Duellists novels

Julia Knight, author of Swords and Scoundrels, book one in the Duellists trilogyWe interviewed Julia Knight, author of the Duellists trilogy. The first book, SWORDS AND SCOUNDRELS (UK|US|ANZ) is out this month. It’s a fast and furious fantasy adventure about two siblings, Kacha and Vocho, who are known for the finest swordplay in their kingdom – until they are dishonoured and forced to become reluctant highwaymen. The sequels LEGENDS AND LIARS  (UK|US|ANZ) and WARLORDS AND WASTRELS  (UK|US|ANZ) will follow in November and December 2015.

What was the inspiration behind SWORDS AND SCOUNDRELS?

Lots of things! I was reading a lot about post-Moorish Spain – which was inspiration for the fallen empire in the book – and Renaissance Italy, which inspired all the city states that are at each other’s throats. Then add to this a re-reading of the Musketeers, and my happening across a video for an architect’s design for a clockwork city and….hey presto!

Swords and Scoundrels, Legends and Liarsa and Warlords and Wastrels - the Duellists Trilogy by Julia Knight

Which was your favourite character to write?

That is a really hard question, as I love them all in different ways. Vocho was a blast to write, because he’s just so vain and unintentionally funny but he does have a heart too (when he remembers). I like Kacha because she takes no crap from anyone, especially Vocho. Petri was supposed to be the bad guy . .  . but I found I rather felt for his predicament . . .

Who really is the better duellist – Kacha or Vocho?!

Depends on who you ask . . . As Vocho says, she’s better at technique, but he has an advantage in strength and reach. Both are devious as required. I’d say they both have their strengths but that balances out so they are actually fairly evenly matched.

Where’s your favourite bookshop?

I’m going to cheat and say it’s a toss up between Forbidden Planet in London and my local Waterstones in Horsham, West Sussex. Forbidden Planet because I cannot leave without buying *something* and it is just so very cool. And my local Waterstones because it’s got everything – a café, squishy sofas, staff that really know their books (and are more than happy to chat about them, or help me find something). It also has a decent SFF section which brings me on to the next question…

When you walk into a bookshop which section do you gravitate to first?

I always gravitate to the SFF section first in any bookshop. However I do have a soft spot for other genres – historical (both fiction and non-fiction) and crime in particular, so once I’ve mined the SFF I tend to browse there too. Frankly I’ll read almost anything!

What we can expect from the next Duellists novel LEGENDS AND LIARS?

Dastardly magicians, dashing duellists and warring cities. It gets deeper into the characters, and darker too, though it’s still got plenty of light-hearted moments . . .

Meet the Author: Angus Watson

We interviewed Angus Watson, author of the Iron Age trilogy. Angus debuted last year with the action-packed historical fantasy adventure AGE OF IRON. The final book in the trilogy, REIGN OF IRON, comes out this month.

Angus Watson

What would be your quick pitch for the Iron Age trilogy?

Buy this book or I’ll drown these baby raccoons. Not really! AGE OF IRON is the best adventure story set in the Iron Age that you will ever read. Although younger readers might be better off with the Asterix books.

The final book in the series comes out this month, how does it feel to have completed the series?

I loved school and was sad to leave, but also looking forward to the next adventures. Finishing AGE OF IRON after around five years’ work feels like that. I used to think it was pretentious and a lie when authors said that characters had become their friends, but, annoyingly, it is rather like that when you spend days, weeks then months and even years sitting at your desk with only these made up people for company (and, in my case, two cats).

So, wanky as it sounds, I’m genuinely sad to leave old friends when we’ve been through so much together. However, I’m looking forward to meeting new people in the next trilogy and I daresay that some of my old friends, or at least parts of them, will be reincarnated.

And how does it feel to see the amazing reactions the book is getting?

It feels brilliant. Like spending ages on a project and then walking into a big room full of people telling you how much they like it and how well you’ve done. The odd bad review I’ve received is the opposite of that – like someone walking up to you and telling you that you’re an idiot. Luckily there aren’t enough of those yet to fill a big room, or even a small one.

The Iron Age Trilogy by Angus Watson: Age of Iron, Clash of Iron and Reign of Iron

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Probably Dug, because he could say or think whatever the badger’s balls he wanted to.

Who are your biggest influences?

Douglas Adams, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick O’Brian, Scott Lynch, Carl Hiaasen, Iain Banks, Thomas Hardy and my Mum.

When you walk into a bookshop which section do you gravitate to first?

I buy pretty much all books online, so I’m most likely to be in a bookshop to meet a friend (note to everyone, especially internet daters – bookshops are great places to meet before pub, dinner or whatever). I used to go straight to the comic / graphic novel section so that I’d have a chance to read a substantial part of something before whoever turned up. Now I go to the fantasy section to make sure that my books are displayed prominently enough.

Where’s your favorite bookshop?

The Waterstones in Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush, London. Westfield is a vast shopping center full of the dreariest, see-them-everywhere, uninspiring, unchallenging clothes shops you can imagine. Waterstones may be a chain, but, since it sells books, it stands out from the other shops like a towering volcano island of quality and knowledge from a slurry sea of vacuous crap.

What are you working on next, can you give us a hint?

I’ve researched for a few months, and now just started writing a new epic fantasy trilogy in which a mismatched group of refugees will battle animals and monsters, determined assassins, depraved tribes, an unforgiving landscape and each other as they cross a continent to fulfil a prophesy . . . how’s that for a hint?

Events Round-Up: Stephen Aryan and Claire North

This September we have a fantastic series of events lined up in the UK for Claire North – bestselling author of THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST and TOUCH – and Stephen Aryan – debut author of magic-fuelled and explosive fantasy epic, BATTLEMAGE (released this month). Follow the event links below for more details:-

‘An Evening with Claire North’ at Waterstones Leeds, Monday 21nd September, 7pm

‘An Evening with Local Author Stephen Aryan’ at Waterstones Leeds, Tuesday 22nd September, 7pm

‘An evening with Claire North’ at Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, Tuesday 22nd September, 7pm

Stephen Aryan signing BATTLEMAGE at Forbidden Planet, Shaftsbury Avenue, London, Tuesday 29th September, 5:30pm

Super Relaxed Fantasy Club – Stephen Aryan reading and drinks at The Grange Holborn Hotel (Rooftop ‘Sky Bar’), 50-60 Southampton Row, London, 29th Sept, 6:30pm until late

‘An evening with Claire North’ at Waterstones Liverpool, Wednesday 30th September, 6.30pm

Also look out for upcoming appearances from Stephen Aryan at Fantasycon in Nottingham in October, and SLEDGE-LIT  – alongside Guest of Honour Charles Stross, and THE OVERSIGHT author Charlie Fletcher – in Derby in November.

september events - claire north and stephen aryan

Orbit and Gollancz to publish Sharp Ends, a collection of gritty short stories by Joe Abercrombie

Joe-Abercrombie-credit-Lou-AbercrombieOrbit US and Gollancz are thrilled to announce that they will be publishing a stunning hardback collection of superb short stories featuring best-loved characters from the world of the First Law, by New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling fantasy author Joe Abercrombie. Orbit will publish the collection in the United States and Gollancz in the United Kingdom.

The short stories will be a mix of original and reissued short stories collected together for the first time, including the Locus Award-winning “Tough Times All Over.” The brand-new shorts will feature some of the most popular characters from the First Law world, including Glokta, Jezal, Logen Ninefingers, Bethod, and Monza Murcatto.

Joe Abercrombie said: “I’m very pleased that some widely scattered shorts are going to be brought together in one volume along with some new stories about old friends and enemies, filling in some blanks in the map of the First Law world and offering some different perspectives on key events. I hope readers will have as much fun revisiting some of these much-loved – and much-hated – characters as I have…”

Joe Abercrombie’s novels in the First Law world have sold over half a million copies to date. He is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author. Joe’s short stories are in demand for collections put together by some of the biggest names in the industry, including George R. R. Martin.

Joe Abercrombie is the author of the First Law Trilogy (The Blade ItselfBefore They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings). His stand-alone novels (Best Served ColdThe Heroes, and Red Country) are also set in the First Law world.

His novels have been shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, John W. Campbell Award and the David Gemmell Legend Award. His covers are also award winning, and have won both the David Gemmell Legend Award and the World Fantasy Award for best artwork.

Joe formerly worked as a freelance film editor and is now a full time writer who lives in Bath with his family. Follow @LordGrimdark on Twitter for more information, or visit

About Orbit

Orbit is the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group.

About Hachette Book Group:

Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, Hachette Books, Hachette Nashville, and Hachette Audio.

Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of The First Law, Joe Abercrombie

US: April 12, 2016, hardcover $28.00 / e-book $14.99

UK: April 12, 2016, hardcover £18.99/ e-book £9.99

Cover Launch: THE DREAD WYRM by Miles Cameron

We’re delighted to launch the cover for Miles Cameron’s THE DREAD WYRM, the much-anticipated new installment in the Traitor Son Cycle that began with THE RED KNIGHT and THE FELL SWORD, coming out in October this year.


Some are born to power. Some seize it. And some have the wisdom never to wield it. 

The Red Knight has stood against soldiers, armies and the might of an empire without flinching. He’s fought on real and magical battlefields alike, and now he’s facing one of the greatest challenges yet. A tournament.

A joyous spring event, the flower of the nobility will ride against each other for royal favor and acclaim. It’s a political contest — one which the Red Knight has the skill to win. But the stakes may be higher than he thinks. The court of Alba has been infiltrated by a dangerous faction of warlike knights, led by the greatest knight in the world: Jean de Vrailly — and the prize he’s fighting for isn’t royal favor, but the throne of Alba itself…

Not caught up? There’s still time to check out the first two books.

theredknight Cameron_FellSword_TPB

Praise for the Traitor Son Cycle:

“I cannot recommend the Traitor Son Cycle enough…amazing.” — SF Signal

“Literate, intelligent and well-thought-out…George R. R. Martin comparisons will no doubt be in abundance.” — SFF World

“Medieval fantasy at its finest.”— Fantasy Faction

“The series promises to be a standout epic fantasy for the ages.” — SF Signal Fantasy Book Critic

The Orbit Fantasy Writing Workshop continues

Orbit Fantasy Workshop with Karen Miller

The Orbit Fantasy Writing Workshop continues this week and runs until 3rd August. It’s led by Karen Miller, the bestselling author of THE FALCON THRONE (US | UK | AUS). We’re very happy to see so many people taking part. To find out how you can get involved, see details here.

In order to provide some helpful advice along the way, Karen posted this piece on Writing Your First Fantasy Novel on Monday.

And since the challenge she has set involves writing a character who is morally conflicted, today she gives some great pointers on Writing the Villain: or learning to love your inner Darth Vader. It should really get you thinking about what brings characters to life.

And in addition to this, Karen is also participating in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) today, so do feel free to put any questions you have about writing to her.

Please keep letting us know how things are going by leaving comments on this site, or posting on Twitter with the hashtag #OrbitFantasyWorkshop. Best of luck with the writing!

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:


LEGENDS AND LIARS (UK | US | ANZ) – November 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 . . .
Read the rest of this entry »

Orbit launches a Fantasy Writing Workshop with Karen Miller

This summer, Orbit is launching an online fantasy writing workshop, hosted on It will be led by Karen Miller – the million-copy bestselling author who rose to fame with her debut The Innocent Mage, and whose most recent release is the critically acclaimed epic fantasy The Falcon Throne (UK | US | ANZ).

The free week-long event, which starts on 27th July 2015, will invite aspiring authors to take part in a communal online “write-along” challenge, during which they will each be encouraged to pen their own sample of a new fantasy novel. They will also be invited to submit this sample into a competition at the end of the week.

Miller will be kicking off the writing workshop by setting a writing challenge for aspiring fantasy authors on 27th July, and will be providing advice and words of encouragement throughout the week. She will also taking part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on 29th July, during which time participants will be able to put their own questions on writing to her.

Miller said: “One of the hardest things about starting a writing career is the feeling that you’re alone, that nobody understands what you’re going through, and that it’s really hard to figure out how to do it right! That’s why I’m so excited to share a little of what I’ve learned since I wrote my first fantasy novel. It’s been a wild ride, these past few years, and if a new writer can be helped by something I’ve said, it will make all the hard work worthwhile.”

Any aspiring authors interested in taking part should follow @OrbitBooks on Twitter and look for the hashtag #OrbitFantasyWorkshop for updates, or sign up to the Orbit newsletter here.

For further information contact or

Cover Launch: SKYBORN by David Dalglish

I was fortunate enough to art direct David’s first series, the Shadowdance novels, so when I heard we were ready to work on his next series I was super excited. SKYBORN (US | UK | AUS)  is about the Seraphim, an elite military force protecting a floating island of Weshern. The Seraphim guard the remnants of mankind, defying gravity using ancient wings and mastering powerful elements to wage war in the skies.

The new series has been a different design challenge from the Shadowdance books in that we wanted to convey a different feel for the cover art. In David’s first series, we wanted emphasis on the main character, a ninja-like assassin, and the books’ energetic action. In Skyborn, the characters are a bit more unique in that they have metal wings to fly, wield swords, and wear military uniforms. Ultimately, the new series needed to convey high adventure.

In what I would call serendipitous timing, the work of Tommy Arnold came across my desk as we were discussing the covers. His style just hit the nail on the head for this project. His ability to illustrate characters was spot on. He could also handle textures beautifully: fabrics, metals, flames, etc. And most importantly, his illustrations really pull the viewer in and engage you. It was a no brainer in reaching out to get Tommy on board.

So after settling on what we wanted for the covers, we got Tommy moving. I couldn’t have had more fun designing David’s super fun new series with such a talented artist!

I’m thrilled to present the cover to Skyborn by David Dalglish!


Skyborn, the first volume of a new series by David Dalglish, will be hitting shelves November 2015.

author post

Thief's Magic by Trudi CanavanTrudi Canavan is an international bestselling author whose novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. Following the paperback release of THIEF’S MAGIC (UK | US | ANZ), the start of Trudi’s brand new adventure series, she shares some thoughts on what it’s like to be an author based in Australia whose novels are sold around the world.

The Tyranny of Distance is the name of a history book published back in the 60s, and the title has become a phrase used whenever Australians discuss the difficulty of doing business – or anything, really – in a world where most English-speaking nations are far, far away. The difficulties of, for instance, trading with customers half a world away is one reason why Australia produced a lot of wool – it doesn’t deteriorate on long sea voyages.

Sometimes, when I’m abroad, I’m asked what it is like to be an Australian author who is a bestseller outside of my country, or why Australian fantasy is so good. I often think of this phrase, but don’t use it because I am unsure if anyone outside of Australia will know and understand it. Yet I think distance has a lot to do with the answer to both questions. These are some of the ways:

Since shipping is costly, not all books printed outside of Australia are sold here. Until ebooks were easily accessible we were only reading the most popular authors. Since authors draw, consciously and unconsciously, on what we’ve read and seen before, we have been emulating or subverting the best of the genre. Raised on the best, is it any surprise that Australian fantasy writers do well? However…

When it comes to who is writing fantasy, we aren’t as influenced by assumptions and attitudes in other markets. For example, I did not encounter anyone who thought that mainly men write epic fantasy until I ventured overseas in 2011. In fact, when it came to who reads fantasy, I grew up in an era and place where boys were more likely to read science fiction and girls to prefer fantasy. Little wonder, perhaps, that by 2012 two-thirds of traditionally published Australian fantasy writers for adults were women. However, when it comes to being published overseas, and now that the the local fantasy imprints are global, we have this and other differences in our markets to deal with.

Plane fares to and from Australia are expensive, and jet lag means Aussie authors can’t nip over to the other side of the world for a weekend and function as well as someone who hasn’t just had their sleep cycle reversed. So when we do travel overseas we tend to stay longer, which means taking more time away from writing. Even something as simple as giving away a signed copies of your book is more costly than it is for our overseas counterparts, because postage ranges from the same or double the value of the book. But on the other hand…

Email, the world wide web and social media have overcome many of the problems of distance. Only in the latter is it obvious that an author is Australian, because of the time difference. This can be a bit frustrating, as conversations on Twitter, for example, often begin and end (and are Storified) before we Aussie wake up and can contribute. (Though this can be an advantage if it stops us leaping in before knowing all the facts!)

Digital publishing has also made more books available to us – and a lot more Aussie fantasy available to the rest of the world through small presses and self-publishing. It doesn’t overcome all problems of distance, as there are still territorial issues and sorting out epub and reader issues means getting help from overseas, which can be more difficult, but it has generally made it easier to reach a global audience.

So you can see there are many aspects and both advantages and disadvantages to being an Australian author who is successful overseas. What I love most is, wherever I go readers are so welcoming. They will go to extraordinary efforts to come and see me whenever I am in their home country, because they know that it might be a long wait until I am in their part of the world again. And meeting readers is my favourite part of being an author.

Aside from the writing part, of course!

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