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AGE OF IRON by Angus Watson

AGE OF IRON Angus Watson

Bloodthirsty druids and battle-hardened Iron Age warriors collide in the first volume of this action-packed historical fantasy trilogy.
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SYMBIONTMira Grant

The second terrifying novel in the Parasitology series by New York Times bestselling author Mira Grant!
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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Aaron’

Got questions for your favorite authors?

Got questions for your favorite Orbit authors?  Well, you’re in luck! Goodreads has recently launched a new Q&A feature! See below for a list of participants:

Ann LeckieBrent Weeks
Ancillary Justice
Brent Weeks
Weeks_NightAngelOmnibus_TP copy   BlackPrism_TP
Brian McClellan

McClellan_PromiseOfBlood_FINAL_HC

David Dalglish

Dalglish_ADanceOfCloaks_TP

Gail Z Martin

The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin   Martin_IceForged-TP
James S.A. Corey
Leviathan Wakes
Jaye Wells

   Wells_DirtyMagic_TPNoBurst
Michael J. Sullivan

THEFT OF SWORDS   crown-tower-highRez
M.R. Carey

Carey_GirlWith_HC
N.K. Jemisin

Jemisin_Inheritance-TP   Jemisin_Killing Moon-TP
Rachel Aaron
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author post

Anatomy of a Badass

When I first sat down to write Devi Morris, I only knew two things about her: 1) she wore powered armor, and 2) she was a total badass. Naturally, the first factor contributed greatly to the second. I dare you to put anything in in a sleek suit of powered armor and not have it become instantly more badass! But equipment alone doesn’t a badass make. If Devi was truly going to be who I wanted her to be, she would have to be just as awesome outside of her armor as she was in it. Her badassery needed to be inherent, a natural element of her being, and before I could write that, I needed to figure out just what a badass was.

What makes someone a badass is one of those things that is instantly recognizable, but hard to actually pin down in objective description. Heroes can be badasses, but not all badasses are heroes (in fact, the badass role is often saved for the villain, whose badassery is used as a threat). And while the classic image of a badass is an aggressive dude, badass is not an inherently masculine or macho descriptor as proven by the enormous number of female badasses in film, comics, television, and literature. It’s also not limited to violence. People who survive impossible situations are also proclaimed badasses even if their feat of badassitude was to simply continue living when most wouldn’t.

With all these differences, the most basic anatomy of a badass can be stripped down to three primary factors: a refusal to give up when the odds are stacked against them, a confident attitude, often aggressive attitude, and some kind of extreme proficiency in a skill. Why these? Well, the attitude part is obvious, but the rest is more interesting. See, humans love to watch people do things very well. Even the simplest, most mundane acts like stacking plastic cups can seem like magic when performed at a world class skill level. We respect talent, even if we can’t actually say how the talent is useful. Likewise, we admire people who stand on their beliefs. One of my favorite lines from Highlander is that uncompromising men are easy to admire. Even when we don’t actually agree, we admire and respect people who stand up for their ambitions/causes/beliefs/dreams and refuse to back down despite overwhelming odds.

Put all these factors together and you can make a badass out of anything. Take the competition cooking show Iron Chef, for example. In the show, chefs from all over the world challenge the reigning Iron Chef to a one hour extreme cooking showdown with a mystery ingredient. Naturally, since this is television, the challenge is designed to seem impossible. How many of us could cook a 5-7 course meal on the fly when every course must incorporate an ingredient we don’t even know until the challenge begins? But the chefs on this show are all kitchen badasses, and they use their years, sometimes decades of experience, creativity, and natural skill to overcome the odds and prove that their cuisine reigns supreme!

So we see that the anatomy of badass can be simple, even formulaic, and when used without thought, this can be a big problem. Think of any mediocre, forgettable action movie and you’ll see a badass that failed not because they didn’t follow the formula, but because they followed it too well. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity, but just as great art can never be achieved painting by numbers, a truly memorable, worthy badass must be far more than the sum of her parts.

Being good at something, an in your face attitude, and refusing to back down are all a good starting point, but a badass who is also a good character has to have style. She can’t just say “I’m the best,” she has to prove it over and over again against increasingly crazy odds. She can’t just take a stand, she has to put it all on the line every single time for a worthy cause she and the reader both believe in. She has to be larger than life and human at the same time, which means her problems have to be writ just as large as everything else. She has to be admirable but still rateable, else she risks being a caricature instead of a character.

This was what I learned from reading and watching my favorite badasses in action, and this was the approach I took with Devi. Now that the series is ending, and I’m looking back at everything I tried to do with it, I think creating a badass to be remembered was the one place where I truly succeeded as well as I’d hoped to. Authors aren’t supposed to have favorite characters, but I can’t help but admit that Devi is and probably will always be right up there at the top. She’s the female hero I always wanted to see in the movies, the badass lady I would have pretended to be when I was a kid, and I already miss her more than I should miss someone who is ultimately a figment of my imagination.

So for everyone who’s been waiting to see how the story ends, I really hope you enjoy HEAVEN’S QUEEN (US | UK | AUS). I put a lot of thought into creating a suitably badass ending, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And for those of you who haven’t met Devi Morris yet (and who’ve been sufficiently entertains by this post long enough to get all the way down here to the end), I invite you to read a little more and check out the first chapter of FORTUNE’S PAWN (US | UK | AUS), the beginning of the Paradox series. Thank you everyone for reading and for making this series a success! I look forward to writing more Paradox novels. I can’t promise more Devi, but really, do you think I can keep her down?

Not a chance.

Barnes & Noble Discovery Friday

This year, Barnes & Noble is debuting a new promotion called “Discovery Friday” to give you a start to your holiday shopping. On Friday, November 22nd, there will be events and activities at Barnes & Noble bookstores across the country. A number of Orbit authors will be participating at their local B&Ns. Check the list below to see if one of them will be near you!

œFortune's Pawn cover Carlson_ColdBlooded-TP Dalglish_ADanceOfCloaks_TP Grant_Parasite-HC Leckie_AncillaryJustice_TP McClellan_PromiseOfBlood_FINAL_HC Sullivan_RoseandThorn-TP

author post

If you look at the early reviews of my new novel, FORTUNE’S PAWN (out now, by the way! [US | UK | AUS]), you’ll find one word repeated over and over again: fun. This word also appeared in reviews of my fantasy series, THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS (written as Rachel Aaron [US | UK | ANZ]), so much so that I was actually joking to my husband that I should call myself “Rachel Aaron, the fun author!”

And you know, I’m okay with that.

Fun is a seriously underrated novel component. There are plenty of serious books that make you cry or think in a different way or show you something beautiful and deep. I strive for all that in my works as well, but never at the cost of a good time. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a cathartic cry as much as the next person, but the books I come back to over and over again are the ones that left me smiling and exhilarated and hungry to read more.

Too often, we say “escapist reading” like it’s something lesser. Like we should be ashamed that we’re enjoying something just because it’s fun. I think that’s absurd. It’s like saying ice cream is lesser because all it does is taste delicious. We need delicious, because life is hard. Bad things happen even to the luckiest of us, and the world can too often be a stressful, dark, unfriendly, unkind place. A good, fun book is like an escape hatch from all that grim reality. It’s a safe space where we can run away and have a good, dramatic, thrilling time, and sometimes, when you really need to a respite, that can feel like a miracle.

Hearing someone had a blast reading my books is the greatest complement I can receive as a writer. I’m proud to be a trusted provider of quality life escape hatches. And while I can’t guarantee my story will change your world forever, I can promise that it’ll be one hell of a ride. So come have fun in my imagination. Let me entertain you. At the very least, you’ll never be bored.

FORTUNE’S PAWN is available now! Check out the first chapter here, and get ready for even more fun this Thursday. Rachel Bach will be joining authors Daniel Abraham (1/2 of the James S. A. Corey writing duo) and Ann Leckie tomorrow for an evening of science fiction, technology, and space opera. RSVP to the Google event today

Best Books of 2012

We were thrilled to see some Orbit books and authors on “Best of” round-ups for 2012. See below for some great recommendations!

Publishers Weekly Best Books 2012, SF/Fantasy/Horror
THE TROUPE by Robert Jackson Bennett
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

NPR Year’s Best Science Fiction
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Library Journal Best Books 2012, SF/Fantasy
STRAY SOULS by Kate Griffin
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

RT Book Reviews, Editors’ Best of 2012
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

Los Angeles Public Library, Best of 2012: Fiction
TIMELESS by Gail Carriger

io9, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2012
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
THE KILLING MOON and THE SHADOWED SUN by N.K. Jemisin

Explorations: The B&N SciFi and Fantasy Blog, The Best Fantasy Releases of 2012
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks
SEVEN PRINCES by John R. Fultz
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

Best Paranormal Fantasy Releases of 2012
BLUE-BLOODED VAMP by Jaye Wells
COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher
TEMPEST’S FURY by Nicole Peeler
Best Apocalyptic Fiction Releases of 2012 and Best Zombie Fiction Releases of 2012
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant

Reddit r/Fantasy Best of 2012
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks

The Book Smugglers
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin

Fantasy Faction
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks
BITTER SEEDS by Ian Tregillis

The Wertzone
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
SHARPS by K.J. Parker
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin
EXISTENCE by David Brin
THE KING’S BLOOD by Daniel Abraham

The Midnight Garden
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant

Rob’s Blog o’Stuff
THE TROUPE by Robert Jackson Bennet
THE KING’S BLOOD by Daniel Abraham
RED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie
EXISTENCE by David Brin
BLACKOUT by Mira Grant
CALIBAN’S WAR by James S.A. Corey
SEEDS OF EARTH by Michael Cobley
The Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron

The Speculative Scotsman
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Ranting Dragon
THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin
SHARPS by K.J. Parker
THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks

To find out more about these titles and where you can purchase them, visit our corporate websites in the (US | UK | AUS). Feel free to share your favorites from 2012 in the comments below.

SPIRIT’S END – The Epic Conclusion to the Eli Monpress Series

 THE SPIRIT WAR by Rachel Aaron  

One of my greatest privileges since coming to work at Orbit has been working on the Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron. Following Eli on his fantastic journeys was always hilarious, entertaining, and unexpected. So it is with great pleasure (and a bit of sadness) that we release the final Eli Monpress novel, SPIRIT’S END (US | UK | AUS).

Eli Monpress is clever, he’s determined, and he’s in way over his head.

First rule of thievery: don’t be a hero. When Eli broke the rules and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price, but resuming his place as the Shepherdess’s favorite isn’t as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect, and even Eli’s charm might not be enough to stop her. But Eli Monpress always has a plan, and with disaster rapidly approaching, he’s pulling in every favor he can think of to make it work, including the grudging help of the Spirit Court’s new Rector, Miranda Lyonette.

But with the world in panic, the demon stirring, and the Lord of Storms back on the hunt, it’s going to take more than luck and charm to pull Eli through this time. He’s going to have to break a few more rules and work with some old enemies if he’s going to survive.

Praise for the Eli Monpress series:

“Fans of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora(2006) will be thrilled with Eli Monpress.” -Booklist (Starred Review)

“A romp of a lighthearted fantasy starring an absolutely darling rogue.”  — Publishers Weekly

SPIRIT’S END is available in  the US in a stand-alone edition, and in the UK and Australia as the second book in THE REVENGE OF ELI MONPRESS omnibus edition.  

author post

With the fifth and final book of my Eli Monpress series, SPIRIT’S END (UK | US | AUS)*, coming out November 20, it was high time to crawl out of my coffee splattered writer cave and do some promotion. Seeing as this is the final shebang, though, I knew I wanted to do something different, something spectacular… But then I lost my voice and my lit themed parody video of Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe had to be put on indefinite hold. (Sample: “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but I wrote this series, so read it maybe?”)

The disappointment is crushing,  I know, but as a consolation (and an apology to everyone who just got Call Me Maybe stuck in their heads), I wrote a short piece about what would happen if the Eli gang had voice mail instead. So if you’re a fan, get ready, because this fansevice is all for you! And if you haven’t read the series yet and want in on the joke, you can read the first few chapters of The Legend of Eli Monpress here.

 

      

*SPIRIT’S END is being published in the UK and Australia as an omnibus called THE REVENGE OF ELI MONPRESS which includes THE SPIRIT WAR and SPIRIT’S END.

So, without further ado, please enjoy The Legend of Eli Monpress: Voice Mail Edition!

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Orbit @ New York Comic Con

Orbit is going to New York Comic Con! We’ll be in the Hachette booth, #1027, with giveaways, raffles, and several author events, so be sure to stop by if you’re in town. Here’s the schedule of events:

 Friday, October 12

1 PM: Kate Locke signing GOD SAVE THE QUEEN @ booth 1027
4 PM: Nicole Peeler signing TEMPEST’S FURY and TEMPEST RISING @ booth 1027
4 PM: Senior editor Devi Pillai will be on the panel “Publisher’s Paradise: Adult Publisher Spotlight” in Rm. 1A06

Saturday, October 13

12:15 PM: Nicole Peeler will be on the panel “Myth Mixology: How Urban Fantasists Create the Perfect Cocktail” in Rm. 1A08
1:30 PM: Creative director Lauren Panepinto will be on the panel “Ladies Who Steam: The Publishing Industry on Women in Steampunk” in Rm. 1A01

Sunday, October 14

11 AM: Michael J. Sullivan will be signing THEFT OF SWORDS @ booth 1027
4 PM: Michael J. Sullivan will be on the panel “The Brave New World of E-Book Publishing” in Rm. 1A07

We’ll also be running raffles every day of the convention, with prizes including books by Gail Carriger, Joe Abercrombie, Iain M. Banks, and Rachel Aaron. See you there!

Behind the Cover Video: THE SPIRIT WAR by Rachel Aaron

Here in the Art Department, we work over a year in advance on our book covers, so it’s a thrill to finally be able to go back and share these process posts with you. Today we have a special treat, because last year when the fabulous illustrator Sam Weber was working on the Eli Monpress series for us, he invited us into his studio in Brooklyn to take a peek at THE SPIRIT WAR in progress.
I have really enjoyed working with Sam on this series because not only does he paint such gorgeous covers for us, he’s also a gigantic geek and loves to read the books as well. It really makes a difference in a cover when your artist really gets into the story and characters…especially in the case of Eli, master thief and scoundrel extraordinaire.

In the video below, Sam walks us through his process from thumbnails to final art. Even seeing him work up close, I still can’t believe he gets the amazing textures and luminosity he creates out of the watercolors. Let me tell you, if you are not an artist or have never tried painting in any medium, never mind watercolors, you have no idea how unforgiving a medium it can be.

I know the sketches and stages he shows go by pretty quickly in the video, so I’ll post a bunch of the cover stages so you can see what he’s describing up close. Enjoy! And look forward to part two, when we move past the process of physically creating the cover, and reveal how big of a geek Mr. Weber really is.

After the jump, see the process images up close and personal…
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author post

THE SPIRIT WAR by Rachel AaronNow that the fourth Eli Monpress book, The Spirit War, is officially out, I feel the time has come to make some commitments. Three books is a long time, but four? That’s an investment. You, gentle reader, have stuck with me through two years, multiple covers, and an omnibus makeover, and for that you deserve something concrete. So, without further ado, here are ten things I swear to you on my still living mother’s grave that I will never do in the Eli series.

1. I will not place all power in an easily losable object

This is a classic, and better writers than I have fallen for its simple charms. But the Eli Monpress books have always been about personal problems on a global scale, and ain’t no one getting out that easily. So, despite the absolutely insane amount of epic magic flying around in the final Eli books, there is no Tesseract, One Ring, Sword of Omens, or Holy Grail. I know I’m killing my merchandising options here, but art requires sacrifice.

2. It will not end in a wedding or an awards ceremony

I couldn’t book John Williams or Hans Zimmer to do the music, so the plot had to be rewritten. Also, Eli refused to wear anything that might make him look respectable. A man has to think of his reputation.

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