Blog Archives

Best Debuts of 2013

In a lot of ways, 2013 has been a fairly good year for debut novels, as much as 2012 was. There have been some really fantastic releases, and they have all continued an unofficial tradition of doing something different with the genres that they have been set in. I can say for certain that of all the debut novels I read this year, none of them have been quite what I expected. Some of these novels have been really, really good while a small handful have been disappointing.

I put together a list at the end of last year in which I ran through my top picks of all the debuts I’d read, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding, and a great help in figuring out just why these novels were so good beyond just writing up the reviews.

All in all, of the 20 debut novels I wanted to read this year as per my list (link), I read 18 of them. Here are the 8 books I consider to be the best of the bunch.

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June Reading List Poll

In January and February, I ran two highly successful polls where I asked all the readers of the blog to help me pick my reading list for the following months. The first one was for novels, the second one for comics. I managed to meet the reading goals for the first of those polls, but am still progressing through the second one, mostly because I’ve been traveling a bit too much of late, and reading time has generally been at a premium due to work and more time devoted to my writing.

However, I should be done with it by the end of this month, so keep an eye out for updates on that.

In the meantime, here’s my next reading poll, and this one is for novels once again. Hit the break to find out more.

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NANP: The Names Dice

Participating in the first guest post for Names: A New Perspective Part 3 is Nathan Long, one of my top favourite fantasy authors (with some excellent sword-and-planet mixed in). I’ve been reading Nathan’s books for almost 6 or 7 years now, and have pretty much read all the work he’s done for Black Library to date. His The Blackhearts Omnibus remains a firm favourite for me, as do his Ulrika the Vampire books (review of Bloodborn, Bloodforged, and Bloodsworn), and his Jane Carver of Waar duology (review of Jane Carver, and Swords of Waar) from Nightshade Books. Just as with Matt Forbeck, Nathan is one of the most consistent authors I know, and his books are always engaging and entertaining. Here’s what Nathan has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: Names In Historical Fiction

Guesting on the blog today for Names: A New Perspective is debut author Michael J. Martinez. His first book, The Daedalus Incident, is scheduled for a June/July release, but given the ongoing restructuring and sellout-acquisition deal at Night Shade Books, it is more than likely that the book will be delayed a few months. You can read more about it from Mike himself here, and I will be doing a Publishing & Marketing column about it later this week as well. In the meantime, you can read my review of the book, one of the top debuts of the year, and here’s what Mike has to say on the topic of names.

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51 Most Anticipated Releases For 2013

With regards reading, 2012 was a fantastic year for me. It was the year that I stepped out of my comfort zone and read in genres that I normally would not read, such as urban fantasy (involving angels, vampires, werewolves etc) and historical fiction. It was also the year that I read more than the traditional fantasy, and tie-in fantasy at that. My experiments seem to have mostly been successful as I’ve started to really like reading these kind of books.

My goal for this year is to continue on that same path and read as widely as I can. Which is why this massive list is so huge in scope, with tons of variety. I went through the catalogues for most of these publishers and picked out things I liked,and which caught my eye. Getting through the entire list this year will probably not happen, but then again, never say never!

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Names: A New Perspective Part 2

A little late, but I finally have the schedule of posts down. Post-NaNoWriMo blues and a massive reviewing/reading backlog plus my Advent Reviews series has kept me rather busy. Which reminds me, I still need to do that NaNoWriMo “after-action” report too! Ack! You can read any of the previous posts by using the series tag: “Names A New Perspective“. The previous line-up of authors is here. So, without further ado, here you are.

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NANP: I Love Names

Another Thursday, another Names: A New Perspective guest post! This time, it is Bradley P. Beaulieu, author of the Lays of Anuskaya series, which is published by Nightshade Books. He also runs the Speculate SF site, which is one of the best genre scenes on the internet, and is also an excellent resource for authors. I haven’t had a chance to read his books as yet, but I’m quite looking forward to them, and they are high on Mountain Tobereadpile. That’s in no small part due to the absolutely gorgeous covers for his novels. Here’s what he had to say on the subject of names and their significance.

Advent Reviews Day 2: Osiris by E. J. Swift

For Day 2 of my Advent Reviews series, I bring to you my thoughts on the this debut novel by author E. J. Swift, the first in the Osiris Project series being published by Night Shade Books, who have put out such gems as Teresa Frohock’s Miserere: An Autumn’s Tale and Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar.

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NANP: What’s In A Name?

Dropping by on the blog today is Stina Leicht, author of the Fey And The Fallen series, and is a 2012 Campbell Award nominee. She is one of the new-generation of Night Shade Books authors, alongside Teresa Frohock, Courtney Schafer and Jeff Salyards among others, who’ve all been featured on the blog previously. I read her first novel, Of Blood And Honey, in August of this year and was suitably impressed with it to get the sequel, And Blue Skies From Pain. Stina is a fantastic author and I’m looking forward to some great things from her in the future. Here’s what she had to say on the topic of names and their significance in her writing.

NANP: A Name By Any Other Name

Another Thursday, another Names: A New Perspective post, this time with author Jeff Salyards, who debuted this year with his first Bloodsounder’s Arc novel, Scourge of the Betrayer (my review). As I said in my review, the novel is a very different sort of fantasy book that breaks with tradition and delves far more into the characters than many others; its a character study at its core. The novel also continues the seeming tradition of Nightshade Books to publish authors who are out to challenge the mainstream perception and tastes, and I think it succeeds on that level. When I invited Jeff to talk about how and why he names his characters (and places) as he does, this is what he came back to me with.

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NANP: Building Fantasy Worlds One Name At A Time

Joining me on the blog today is Courtney Schafer, author of the adventure fantasy novels The Whitefire Crossing and The Tainted City, both of them a part of her The Shattered Sigil series for Nightshade Books. I read The Whitefire Crossing last month and I was utterly blown away by it (my review). It is easily one of my best reads this year, even made my September Reading Awards list. If you are looking for a different type of fantasy novel to read, one that is serious and covers some new ground in terms of its magic system and characters and its scope, then The Whitefire Crossing is what you want. This is what Courtney had to say about her world-building in the the two novels.

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April Report

So its time again to do another end-of-the-month report. Overall, April was a somewhat better month where my writing is concerned as I managed to knock some submissions together and managed to get a headstart on editing my novel submission, but not by much really. The muse was hell of a lot more fickle than it usally is so I didn’t get anywhere near as much as I wanted to get done. On the reading front however, it was a blast, and I read some fantastic novels this month, and some not so fantastic as it turns out. Quite disappointed with two of my reads in particular – Giant Thief by David Tallerman (extremely disappointed) and Void Stalker by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (very ambivalent about it). And on the reviewing front, book reviews were posted fairly regularly while I only got around to posting a single one, I did write two. So that’s a target hit, I think?

Anyway, the lowdown is after the break.

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