Five Reasons You Should Read Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Books

rosemaryrue

The latest book in Seanan McGuire’s long-running October Daye urban fantasy series, Once Broken Faith, came out a little over a month ago. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a McGuire fangirl. I love her writing, and I recommend this series every chance I get.

But now we’re 10 books in…and frankly, it can be a little intimidating to start a long-running series. I’ve seen many series lose steam and direction after a few books are out.

That’s not the case here.

I thought I’d break it down, point by point–the five reasons you should pick up the October Daye books if you haven’t already:

1) The long-term payoff. One of the big problem with long-running series is that they often lose focus as they go on. Not true with the October Daye books. You can tell that McGuire has a firm hand on her world and characters. Information will be revealed in one book that may not pay off until several books later. Even 10 books in, we are still waiting for answers to a lot of important questions. A lot of the tension in the story builds from the fact that other people know things that Toby herself does not. McGuire uses this tension skillfully, and it’s very much to the story’s benefit.

2) Fantastic worldbuilding. One of the things I’ve always admired about McGuire’s writing is her amazing ability to build worlds. Whether it’s the ghostly Midwest of yesteryear in Sparrow Hill Road or the mythological creature-rich world of her InCryptid series or a boarding school for kids who have been sucked into parallel universes in Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire has an incredible ability to create a world out of the fantastic that feels real in its vividness and complexity. In this series, fae live among humans, hiding in plain sight. There are rules, social norms, dress codes, territories, and conflicts, and they are all drawn out so vividly that you feel like you’re there.

3) Slow-burn romance. These books definitely sticks more to the urban fantasy side of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance spectrum, but that doesn’t mean Toby is completely romance-free. But it takes a long time to get there, and it may not be with the person you initially expect. But by the time you do get some payoff from the romance, you really feel like they’ve earned it. In addition, it’s not—shall we say—graphically depicted, so those who prefer less explicitness in their fiction are in the clear.

4) Real consequences. Some writers seem to believe that “fantasy” is essentially a “get out of jail free” card. Killed off a beloved character? Just bring them back to life! Burned down a major city during your epic battle? That’s okay, you can just use the magic restoration potion to fix everything. But in the October Daye universe, things stick. Bad things happen, and there are sometimes long-term consequences. McGuire is also—be warned—willing and able to kill beloved characters…permanently. But the bad things in Toby’s world make the good things seem all that much more special.

5) Great side characters. Sometimes in urban fantasy, the side characters don’t feel as complex or developed as the protagonist. Not so here. Everyone from the King of Cats to the ancient sea witch to Toby’s teenage squire to Toby’s death omen (long story, don’t ask) have rich, compelling inner lives. As a bonus, McGuire has written several short stories and novellas set in Toby’s world featuring many of these characters as protagonists. (Many of these stories are free on McGuire’s website.)

And as a bonus…

6) LGBT representation. McGuire is a very outspoken advocate for inclusion in fiction, and she practices what she preaches. Bisexuality is the norm in fae culture, particularly among pureblooded fae, so you get to see many of the characters engage in same-sex relationships. One of the secondary characters is also transgender, but we don’t find out until well after the character has been introduced, and it’s dropped into the story so casually you might forget about it. But the coolest part about the inclusion is that it’s not a big deal within the story. Nobody makes an issue of it, and it’s not the defining characteristic for any of these characters. They are not included in the story as the “token” queer characters; they each play roles in the story that have nothing to do with their sexuality or gender identification.

So there you go. If you haven’t done so already, pick up Rosemary and Rue. It’s a great book, and the books get stronger as you go along. And if you have, let me know what you think!

 

DemonWithin CoverOn another note…

My Goodreads giveaway is still running through November 11. I’m giving away 15 signed, personalized copies of my urban fantasy novel, The Demon Within, about a young woman who finds out that she’s half demon–just in time for the entire angelic population of Manhattan to start hunting her down. If you’re interested, you can enter here.

 

Demon Within Giveaway!!!

DemonWithin Cover

I am so excited!!! I am giving away 15 free copies of The Demon Within on Goodreads. The giveaway runs from now until November 11, and I will sign and personalize each copy for the winner.

The Demon Within is what I’d consider “dark urban fantasy”–it has paranormal elements, and it’s set in a contemporary, realistic world. But it’s darker and grittier than some other urban fantasies you may have heard of, like the Sookie Stackhouse books (on which the “True Blood” TV series was based). It’s not YA; I’d say the appropriate age group is probably 16+.

Here’s the book description:

Heaven is hunting Dale Highland…

For 10 years, she’s been on the run, plagued by violent blackouts and increasingly baffled by a growing array of superpowers–mind control, super strength, enhanced healing abilities.

What Dale doesn’t know is that Heaven’s greatest bounty hunter, John Goodwin, has been on her trail the whole time. When John finally corners her in New York City, he reveals the source of her powers: her mother was a demon.

The forge an unlikely connection and go on the run. In pursuit are his fellow bounty hunters, a deadly guild of angels known as the Thrones. Their goal: eradicate all demons–which includes Dale. As they flee across New England, Dale delves into the mystery of her own heritage and discovers that she’s a key figure in the ancient war between angels and demons.

Only this time, the angels are the bad guys.

Fine print: the giveaway is open to readers in the United States and Canada. Winners are selected at random by Goodreads, and I won’t get the winner list until after the drawing.

I’m very excited about this, and I hope to have more giveaways coming up in the near future.

 

 

Appearing at Love Our Local Authors Festival on September 10

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I’ll be appearing at the Love Our Local Authors (LOLA) Festival this Saturday, September 10, at Hooray for Books! in Alexandria, Virginia. The event takes place from 1-5pm, and my author panel will be from 3:30-4:00. I’ll also have copies of The Demon Within for sale.

Hooray for Books! is a recent discovery of mine, and it’s one of the coolest bookstores I’ve ever been in. The staff is incredibly friendly, and they’ve got a great selection. I don’t know what other authors will be at the festival, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the other authors. I have a feeling that my TBR pile is going to grow exponentially this weekend.

So if you’re in the DC Metro area, I would love it if you could come out. The address is:

Hooray for Books
1555 King Street
Alexandria, VA  22314

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Two Reviews, and an Interview with Dale Highland

The Demon Within got two really awesome reviews recently:

ZombieJoe at Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog gave the book 4.5 stars, saying the book had an “excellent, punchy opening” and that he was “deeply entrenched in the story.”

Michael D. Griffiths at SFReader gave the book 5 stars–his first five star of the year!–saying, “If you like Dark Fantasy, I’m not sure if you would find a lot of downsides here.”

Finally, ZombieJoe at Wicked Lil Pixie also interviewed Dale. You get to find out whether she’s Team Batman or Team Superman, what her favorite curse word is, and what her dream demon-power augmented job would be.

I know the blog has been inundated of late with promotional stuff. I will have a non-promotional post up very, very soon, I promise!

 

 

 

Happy Book Birthday to THE DEMON WITHIN

DemonWithin Cover

Unofficially, The Demon Within has been out in the world for a couple of weeks now. Officially, though, the release date is today. You should be able to get the book everywhere now, and any brick-and-mortar bookstore should be able to order it if it’s not in stock already.

I wrote out the book’s acknowledgements several months ago, before the book went to press. But since then, the list of people to thank has grown, and I want to make sure I do so here:

I got some amazing blurbs (basically, those things on the cover of a book saying, “This is the best book ever!”) from some amazing authors and bloggers: Jenn Bennett, author of the kick-ass Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series as well as the Roaring Twenties paranormal romance series; Carolyn Crane, author of the Disillusionists urban fantasy series and the Associates series of romantic suspense novels; Joe Alfano from the Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog; and Jodi Scaife from Fanboy Comics (which is currently rebranding as Fanbase Press). Thank you all for taking the time to read my book and for writing up such amazing blurbs! It’s incredible, as a first-time published author, to open your book to the front page and read all the cool things people are saying about it.

I want to single out Carolyn Crane in particular because, in addition to providing an awesome blurb, she has also been a friend and an inspiration to me for several years now. I first started talking to Carolyn back in 2010, when I interviewed her for CC2K, the blog I wrote for at the time. After that, we started talking more via Facebook and Twitter, chatting about writing, the publishing world, and, of course, our cats. I got to meet her last summer when we attended the Romance Writers of America Conference, and she’s just as sweet and down-to-Earth in person as she had been online. Carolyn, you’re seriously just a super cool person, and I’m so glad to have you as my writer friend.

Several blogs have already featured me, either as an interviewee or guest blogger, and I’d like to thank them as well: Audrey Kearns and the Geek Girl Authority blog; Andi Cumbo-Floyd and her AndiLit writing blog; and Barbra Dillon from Fanboy Comics.

I would also like to thank my friends and family members for supporting me in this endeavor. I’m shocked, and humbled, by how many of you have bought the book, spread the word about it among your own family and friends, and reviewed it. I tend toward the cynical end of the spectrum, but I feel like I’m having my George Bailey moment right now. Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. No woman, either.

And then there is everyone else. Maybe you bought the book at Wizard World Comic-Con, and I signed it for you. Maybe it was recommended to you, likely by one of my amazing network of friends and family. Or maybe you saw it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and thought, “This sounds cool,” and bought it just because. However you got there, thank you for taking a chance on an unpublished, unproven writer, and I hope you like the book.

For almost six years now, Dale Highland and her dark, crazy world of angels and demons with superpowers have been taking up real estate in my brain. And now they’re here. No matter what else happens, Dale is a part of the universe now.

Happy birthday, Dale.

 

 

 

 

 

THE DEMON WITHIN is out in the world!

12440582_1142019295828403_6884585387248212538_o

One happy customer. Photo courtesy of Bernie Goltermann.

 

The Demon Within is seriously, for reals, out in the world now.

The official release date is April 6, but Amazon has “soft released” the book–meaning, basically, that they have started shipping the books early. I don’t know whether Barnes and Noble or any other book retailers have done the same, but Amazon is, for sure, shipping.

12920414_10208961824543971_325353008529523798_n

This copy is on its way to Florida for vacation. My book is barely out, and it already gets to take a vacation! Photo courtesy of Allie Berg.

 

The e-book version is not out yet, nor is it available for preorder. The preorder links should be up any day now–but I suspect you won’t be able to download it until April 6.

Nonetheless, the book seems to be doing quite well on Amazon so far…

Screenshot 2016-03-26 19.31.23

Just for context: there are, according to this Quora post, over 1.8 million books for sale on Amazon. And that sounds about right, because I’ve definitely seen those ranking numbers, in the months that Demon Within has been available for pre-order, over the 1 million mark. So for a book that is not yet “officially” released and still doesn’t have an e-book version…I am pleased.

Some friends, family members, and even acquaintances have asked what they can do to help out. The big things are:

  1. Buy the book.
  2. Leave reviews on sites like Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc., or your own personal blog.
  3. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can certainly chat the book up with your local bookstore or donate a copy to your local library. (I say “really ambitious” because I am a huge introvert and this is the thing on the list I’d have the hardest time doing. It’s even worse because it’s my own book.)
  4. If you have any friends who might like the book, talk to them about it, too–or even buy them a copy.

And of course, don’t feel obligated to do any of these things.

So yes…I am a really for real author now! And now I’m going to go eat pizza and watch some Netflix to celebrate, because I’m living the good life!

(No sarcasm there. With my fiancé out of town for Easter, a night of pizza and Netflix does sound just about perfect. Yes, I’m a recluse. But I’m okay with that.)

Wizard World Wrap-Up

I had an amazing time at Wizard World Comic Con in Las Vegas this past weekend.

I spend most of the convention at the California Coldblood Books booth, where I was signing copies of The Demon Within.

12795052_10207632807191163_4813128790918041458_o (1)

Yes, this is really me. And yes, I am really signing my book.

Yes, you heard that right.

It’s been nearly six years since I started my first draft of The Demon Within, and now it’s out in the wild—unofficially. Although official release won’t be until April 6, attendees of the conference were able to get some early, signed copies. I also have confirmation that Amazon started shipping copies earlier this week, some of which have already arrived. (Not sure about Barnes and Noble or other online sites.)

But the first copies went out into the world at Wizard World last weekend. For those of you who bought copies—thank you, and I hope you enjoy!

I was able to sign most of them, I think, but I know a few of you came to the booth while I wasn’t there. If you’d like, e-mail me (my contact info is available here) and we’ll figure out the best way to get the book signed and personalized for you.

While I was there, I got to spend time with Robert Peterson, editor extraordinaire and the author of The Odds. He had preview copies of Omegaball, a young adult futuristic sci-fi about a disabled young woman who is a superstar in the vicious sport Omegaball on the Darknet (a virtual reality), and has to decide whether she wants to live in the real world or spend the rest of her life inside the Darknet. I haven’t had a chance to read it since Bob’s latest round of revisions, but I can tell you from seeing the preview copies this weekend that it looks and sounds amazing.

I also got a chance to meet Adam Korenman for the first time, the author of When the Stars Fade, a military sci-fi novel set in outer space. He was just amazingly cool, and we got to commiserate about our respective revision processes (and troubles thereabouts). I got a signed copy of his book before I left for the weekend, which my fiancé—who was practically salivating when he heard the book description—now has stashed in the TBR pile on his nightstand.

1493362_10207633098998458_3034795754885792943_o (1)

Bob, Adam, and me during a rush at the CCB booth.

I also participated in two panels. The first, the “Spoilerific Force Awakens” panel on Saturday, was moderated by Bob; Adam, Jessica Tseang, and I were the panelists. Jessica is a comic book historian and the founder of Little Geek Girl, which targets young girls under the age of 12 and helps them pursue their “geeky” interests. This was the first time I’d met Jessica, and she was an incredibly knowledgeable, articulate panelist—not to mention incredibly friendly. It was my first panel, ever, but she immediately put me at ease.

…And then we spent 45 minutes talking about The Force Awakens. The main thing that we learned is that 45 minutes is not enough time to talk about The Force Awakens.

On Sunday, I moderated a panel called “The Women of ‘Doctor Who.’” Yes, indeed, I did go from losing my “panel virginity” one day, to moderating the next. It was…pretty friggin’ terrifying, actually. I’m good in front of an audience. I did theater and public speaking competitions, including impromptu speaking, growing up, and my day job now requires me to stand in front of an audience all the time. But I still get butterflies in my stomach at the thought of going up in front of people and not knowing what I’m going to say. I get through it. But the anticipatory jitters are still a bitch.

But I got through it, and it was an amazing experience. Adam and Jessica were panelists again. The panel also included Dr. Travis Langley, the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight and the editor of the upcoming Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman With a Box; and Dr. Janina Scarlet, a psychologist who runs Superhero Therapy, which is devoted to incorporating characters from pop culture into evidence-based therapy. Janina is also a contributor to Doctor Who Psychology.

980780_10207642588595692_3944047688920456789_o

The “Women of ‘Doctor Who'” panel (L to R): Jessica Tseang, me, Travis Langley, Janina Scarlet, Adam Korenman.

 

I was moderating a “Doctor Who” panel with the people who literally wrote the book on “Doctor Who.” I was seriously outclassed.

All in all, it was a great panel. I could talk about “Doctor Who” forever, and the audience was enthusiastic and had some great questions. I was surprised, and pleased, to get such a great turnout on a Sunday, which is usually the sleepiest day of conventions. Once again, 45 minutes wasn’t nearly enough time, and I feel bad that I had to rush both the panelists and the audience during the Q&A portion. Several audience members came back to speak to me at the CCB booth afterwards, which was great. (I also may have lost track of time late Sunday afternoon at Travis and Janina’s booth, with several of the attendees, having a conversations about the merits—or lack thereof—of Clara Oswald as a character. This is what happens when you put too many “Who” fans into a room together.)

It was a great conference, and I’m only sorry it’s over.

Release Date News & Wizard World Vegas

DemonWithin Cover

A couple of big things to report tonight.

The release date of The Demon Within has been moved up one week. The book will now come out on April 5, 2016. That means that those of you that preordered the book should now be getting a package in your mailbox one week sooner than expected, and that I will officially be a published book author one week sooner than expected. I should be excited, but mostly I’m too busy being terrified right now.

But hey, you might not even have to wait until April 5 to get your book, because I will be appearing at Wizard World Comic-Con in Las Vegas this weekend, and I’ll be signing copies of the book there. I will also be appearing on two panels. This is what my schedule looks like:

Saturday, March 19

12:00-12:45: Spoilerific Star Wars Panel (with my fellow California Coldblood author Adam Korenman and author/editor extraordinaire Robert J. Peterson), room N114

Sunday, March 20

12:00-12:45: The Women of ‘Doctor Who’ Panel (with Jessica Tseang), room N112

1:00-3:00: The Demon Within book signing, not sure of location yet.

I won’t be the only California Coldblood author doing signings during the weekend. Adam Korenman will be signing his novel, When the Stars Fade, on Saturday from 1:00-3:00, and Robert Peterson will be signing his novel The Odds all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

All of us will likely also be spending a lot of time in the California Coldblood Books booth, #539, throughout the weekend.

So please show up and say hello! I would love to meet you.