Friday, March 16, 2018

Guest Blog by S.L. Lahna, author of The Bulletproof Spy #1: The Silver Bullet Affair

Please welcome S.L. Lahna to The Qwillery! The Silver Bullet Affair, The Bulletproof Spy #1, was published on March 15th.

Queer Culture in Russia: a Brief History

Alright, I’m going to kindly ask my American readers here to take everything you think you know about Russia’s stance on the LGBT community and throw it into a trash can. What you see today is not how it has always been, and not even close to how it began.

Before the Soviets and Stalin and the Bolshevik Revolution, we have the Tsars. The Tsarist period of queer history is its foundation, and while so much is wrong with the Tsarist rule for commoners, being gay during this time period is pretty damn good. At this point in history, there are no laws against homosexuality. It is seen within the culture to be rude and overbearing for a man to constantly want to have sex with his wife. She has better things to do. The notion of women having a sex drive then is ludicrous. But you can’t have sex with another woman, that’s cheating and the Russian Orthodox Church will have a very unpleasant punishment for you should it come out.

What do you do? You go to the local bathhouse and sleep with male prostitutes. Which is completely legal.

The only known sodomy laws were part of the church, and they were so mild in consequence that it was barely a slap on the wrist. There were no public trials or shaming whatsoever involved in the few who came forward.

Peter the Great doesn’t attempt to draft sodomy laws until after his great tour of Europe. When he returns in 1698, his conclusion is that while a law of some sort should be put into place, naming the thing may cause it to spread. To put it simply: Peter the Great is in such denial about the already thriving homosexual subculture in Russia that he believes he writes a law saying sodomy is prohibited, people will realize that sodomy is a thing they can do and then go do it. And so, the first true law prohibiting sodomy is drawn up and reads that “unnatural shamelessness” is prohibited.

This law remains in place for over 186 years. The 1835 criminal code prohibits consensual sodomy on punishment of exile to Siberia. Aggravated sodomy, which was defined as any case of sodomy or under force or the abuse of a position of power, was prohibited on punishment of exile with hard labor.

This lasts less than a hundred years; sodomy becomes decriminalized after the Bolshevik Revolution during the first Bolshevik criminal code in 1922.

So, what does all of this add up to?

It means that homosexuality in Russia has a solid foundation of being both religiously and morally acceptable. You can see this during the dialogue of when homosexuality becomes decriminalized; the mutual agreement by lawmakers is that homosexuality is a private matter and what citizens decide to do in a consensual manner in their own bedrooms is no one’s business but their own.

Journals from 1925 to 1927 estimated that over 5,000 queer men were living in Moscow during that time, with even larger numbers in St. Petersburg, which was regarded as the true center for queer subculture.

However, LGBT subculture was not only limited to cities. Diary accounts detail men from farming villages entering cities and immediately assimilating themselves into the queer culture present there; they know the signals, meeting places, and exactly what to say without having to ask a soul, which astonished Russian doctors and psychologists who were trying to understand where queer culture came from. Was it the cities? Was it the Tsars? What? Later it was even theorized that the Soviets created homosexuality. However, these research leaders were equally outweighed by those who believed that homosexuals posed no threat to society or issue to anyone; this is why the laws regarding homosexuality go back and forth depending on the ruler at the time period.

The answer to the question no medical practitioner or politician could solve was simple, but it wasn’t the one anyone wanted to acknowledge: LGBT culture existed in Russia from the start. And that means that when we go to write characters in Russia at any time period, we have to take in account that the shame we may encounter as Americans is not the same as in Russia; it is far less.

And that’s why its important to never go into a writing project with your own Americanized views on other cultures. Because unless you’re specifically educated on it via college level courses, you can almost certainly get it wrong.

To learn more about the growth and development of queer culture in Russia, you can check out the wonderfully put together and thoroughly researched Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia by Dan Healey. And if you’d like to see this history come to life through a quick ass queer Russian spy, check out the Silver Bullet Affair book one in the Bulletproof Spy series.

The Silver Bullet Affair
The Bulletproof Spy #1
March 15, 2018, eBook
Cover art: Dante Saunders

The year is 1965, and Alan Gable is the best spy America doesn’t know they have. Operating off books and outside the law, Alan has been tasked to do the impossible—get inside a laboratory in Moscow, get the Russian’s lead nuclear scientist, and get out, all without the KGB ever knowing he was there. No human could do it.

But Alan isn’t human.

Yulian’s life is perfect. A top counter-intelligence agent for the KGB, favored by the head of Section 1. His best friend is happily awaiting his first child. His indiscretions have remained discreet.

Until Dr. Tamm and his entire lab goes missing, and Yulian’s life starts to unravel.

The only way to survive long enough to get the bottom of the mystery is for Alan and Yulian to work together. If they can survive each other that is.

A madcap mashup of Hellboy and The Man From Uncle, The Silver Bullet Affair is a winning combination of espionage and the supernatural, an action-packed novella from start to finish lead by LGBT characters. Fans of the genre who’ve grown weary of the same old James Bond song and dance will find a new series to love with the Bulletproof Spy.

About the Author

S. L. Lahna goes by they pronouns and knows way too much about Weird Things and Cold War history. Will tell you all of the reasons why James Bond is Wrong. They are hard at work on various novels for teens and adults. Some are about asexual magicians and their demonic mentors, some are about mentally-ill monster hunters, some are about pansexual teenage boys trying to survive a horror movie. Their day job is tearing apart books for money as a freelance editor at Word Vagabond. The Bulletproof Spy series is their debut novella.

Twitter @Vagabond_Sue  ~  Facebook

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nintendo Download, March 15, 2018: Best Puffballs Forever!

This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
    • Kirby Star Allies – When a new evil threatens Planet Popstar, Kirby will need a little help from his … enemies?! By making friends out of Kirby’s foes, up to three players can drop in or out of the adventure at any time. With new and expanded copy abilities, classic Kirby action is deeper than ever. Combine abilities with elements such as ice or fire to create new friend abilities. The Kirby Star Allies game will be available on March 16.  (Additional accessories may be required for multiplayer mode. Game, system, and some accessories sold separately.)
    • Attack on Titan 2 – Experience the immense anime story alongside Eren and his companions as they fight to save humanity from the threat of the deadly human-devouring Titans. Try your hand at operating the omni-directional mobility gear, maneuvering and flying through the sky to counter the Titans, and feel the thrill and satisfaction of battling giant opponents. The Attack on Titan 2 game will be available on March 20.

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - March Debuts

Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2018 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on March 31, 2018.

Vote for your favorite March 2018 Debut Cover! free polls

Jacket art: James Kerr
Jacket design: Owen Corrigan

Cover design: Gigi Little

Cover art: Larry Rostant

Cover art: Dominic Harman

Cover design: Alison Forner
Cover art: A Girl with a Basket of Apples
(dummy board), English School, (18th Century) / 
Hinton Ampner, Hampshire, UK / National Trust
Photographic Library / Bridgeman Images

Cover art: Lee Gibbons

Cover art: Peter Bollinger
Cover design: Lisa Marie Pompilio

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February Winner

The winner of the Febuary 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Philospher's Flight by Tom Miller from Simon & Schuster with 47% of the votes.

The Philosopher's Flight
Simon & Schuster, February 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher’s Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

The Results

February 2018 Debuts 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Interview with Nick Clark Windo, author of The Feed

Please welcome Nick Clark Windo to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Feed was published on March 13th by William Morrow.

In addition, Amazon and Liberty Global have announced that they have ordered a ten-episode adaption of The Feed from The Walking Dead executive producer Channing Powell and British producer Studio Lambert.

Congratulation to Nick on both the publication of The Feed and the upcoming TV adaption!

The QwilleryWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Nick Clark Windo:  Thank you very much – it’s lovely to be here.

I can’t remember much about them, but I remember writing short stories at school as part of English class. There was one in particular written when I must have been seven or so, and some kids had discovered a portal to another world that was ruled by an evil goblin. They swore to defeat this evil goblin and then, when they got home, the evil goblin came to their house to try to kill them, but they dodged him and he burned to death on a heated towel rail. The teacher wrote in the margin ‘How did the goblin know where they live?’ I don’t think this was the only flaw in the story, but it got me thinking about plotting.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

NCW:  I love the term ‘pantser’! For The Feed I was a hybrid. I knew quite a lot about the novel – the midpoint, for example, and the last line – so I had a very good idea where the characters needed to go emotionally, and that worked as a compass point for pantsing their ways there. I like getting lost in a world, and there are certainly lots of things in the novel that wouldn’t have been there if I’d sat down and planned it all. At the same time, I reckon I could have shaved about five drafts off the process if I’d planned a little more.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

NCW:  At the moment, finding the time. Who knew that babies warp time like black holes do? It’s really quite distracting. That aside, it’s re-reading with an eye to delete as much as possible; trying to have no more words than is necessary. Because reading your own work like that requires your brain to be operating on many different levels simultaneously it’s draining: it’s not just about the words that are in front of you, it’s how they relate to all the other words in the book. It requires stamina. It’s very easy to realise you’ve read ten pages and not deleted anything, and it’s very unlikely that there’s nothing delete-worthy in ten pages.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

NCW:  I’ve always read irrespective of genre. In fact, I find pigeon holing books can be quite detrimental – I don’t think it’s necessarily good for them or for our imaginations. Same with TV and film, too: as a viewer, I’m happy to swallow anything – as long as nothing ‘catches’ me. Reading or viewing (and I hope this doesn’t sound too weird) I’m looking for a smooth experience: an overwritten sentence, a jarring edit, an intrusive soundtrack, a character whose actions are driven by plot necessity rather than their established ‘reality’…all of these things catch like a splinter on a piece of furniture and bring you out of the story. I’m very magpie-ish when I’m writing. Books, films, TV, music, overheard conversations, it all gets filtered and what feels interesting gets jotted down in the notebook and then, hopefully, worked and smoothed into place in the story.

TQDescribe The Feed in 140 characters or less.

NCWThe Feed is about two parents searching for their abducted daughter in an era when technology has collapsed.

TQTell us something about The Feed that is not found in the book description.

NCW:  It’s not all doom and gloom! I actually think that a post-apocalyptic world could be very beautiful. There’s loads of nature, for example. Granted, it’s dangerous, but it’s beautiful too. And there’s something very beautiful about the relationships that need to develop across the story – people go on some big emotional journeys, and I think there’s a lot of hope therein, and some lovely moments between people.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Feed? What appeals to you about writing an SF thriller and in particular, a post-apocalyptic thriller?

NCW:  I’d had the idea for the ‘Taken’ a while ago, and how terrifying that would be: people being ‘taken’ in their sleep. They’d look like themselves, they’d sound like themselves…but they wouldn’t be. But I wasn’t sure about the world at that time, but a year or so later I had some Twitter-induced insomnia. I was basically checking it up until the second before I went to sleep and the rhythm of the technology – refresh, refresh, refresh – infected the speed of my dreams. There was one night where I was trapped in my sleep, refreshing my dreams all night. It was exhausting. So the next morning, I knew the world I wanted to investigate: one where technology is part of us, where we’re directly linked to each other. So, yes, it is a bit of a sci-fi concept in that this technology doesn’t exist. But it only doesn’t exist quite yet. To explore this aspect of our society I had to image how the way we’re currently living might look in a few years’ time – and that happened to be a post-apocalyptic world. My next book’s not post-apocalyptic.

TQDo you use social media?

NCW:  Yes, though with added caution now! I love Twitter. But I can feel it fusing my thoughts. So I try to be strict with myself: no emails or Twitter after 7pm or before breakfast. Or at weekends. So if anything urgent happens outside those times, or if the apocalypse hits, please phone me!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Feed?

NCW:  Two different types. The first was extrapolating my experience of technology and translating that into the Feed world. The Feed is the Internet directly to our brains: immediate access to unlimited knowledge and instant communication. It's not a paradigm shift from how we live now, but it’s an extreme version. So a lot of my research was sensing out how I feel about technology and how technology makes me feel (which is both very good and very bad – for me, it's all about whether I control it or it’s controlling me). The second was reading a lot around it, especially around neurology and technology. There’s a fantastic book called The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, for example, about how tech is physically rewiring our brains. Absolutely fascinating stuff. And I was really keen to give a balanced view of technology. Obviously, the book has to be dramatic, so things have to go wrong, but there are huge advantages to technological development. It just depends on how we use it.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Feed.

NCW:  Well, first of all, I love it! And I love the interior design and the font, too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given what I said earlier about reading irrespective of genre and not always liking books being pigeon holed, I’m also really happy that the cover doesn’t scream ‘Sci-fi’. Just to be clear – I love sci-fi. But the sci-fi element of The Feed is actually relatively small – there’s a lot of other stuff going on. So I love the simple and nature of the cover art: it’s there for interpretation. And the colours! The colours are great.

TQIn The Feed who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

NCW:  The easiest was the Pharmacist, in that he was very clear to me from the start. He’s a dangerous person. What delighted me was when it became clear that his mania and his desire to hurt people comes from how badly he’s been hurt in the past. He’s damaged and wants to damage in return. So I ended up feeling pretty sympathetic towards him.

The hardest was probably Tom. Given that Tom and Kate are our heroes, I wanted them to be sympathetic. I wanted them to be good people, so that the readers would back them and care about them. But I realised a few drafts in that Tom was just so anodyne. Furthermore, that portraying people behaving nicely is really un-dramatic. Further to that, the world of The Feed is not friendly, it's not fair; it's a place where there’s not necessarily a ‘right’ decision. And I’d argue that Tom does some cowardly things and makes bad decisions. So that was a bit heart breaking, putting these nice people in very tough situations.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Feed?

NCW:  They’re there at the core of the story: it’s about our relationship with technology, and how technology is slowly (yet in plain sight) changing not just our relationships with each other, but what it means to be human at all.

TQWhich question about The Feed do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

NCW:  Will there be a sequel? Well, I know what would happen in it if there were one; two, in fact. It’s a big world with more to explore, and some things in the first book not being quite what they seem.

TQWhat's next?

NCW:  Well I’m writing my next novel. It’s different from The Feed in that it’s not set in a post-apocalyptic world, but it has flavours that people will recognise. It will also, hopefully, appeal to people who like films – so there’s a broad target audience, for you! There’s also the TV adaptation of The Feed, which is due to start shooting soon. Casting for that is happening at the moment. It’s very exciting.

TQCongratulations for The Feed TV show! Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

NCW:  Thank you very much! It’s been a pleasure to be here.

The Feed
William Morrow, March 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Set in a post-apocalyptic world as unique and vividly imagined as those of Station Eleven and The Girl with All the Gifts, a startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age.


The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world.

Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it.

The Feed’s collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true.

Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be?

About Nick

Photo © James Eckersley
NICK CLARK WINDO was a student on the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. He studied English Literature at Cambridge and acting at RADA, and he now works as a film producer and communications coach. Inspired by his realisation that people are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, and questions about identity and memory, The Feed is his first thriller. He lives in London with his wife.

Twitter @nickhdclark

Jeff Goldblum Reprises Role of Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic World Evolution Video Game

Jeff Goldblum Reprises His Jurassic Park™ Role in
All-New Video Game Jurassic World Evolution

Build Your Own Jurassic World™, Alongside Dr. Ian Malcolm for PC,
PlayStation®4 and Xbox One

Cambridge, UK – March 13, 2018 -- Universal, in partnership with Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV), today announced Jeff Goldblum will return to the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm for the upcoming video game, Jurassic World Evolution, available this Summer for PC, the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and the Xbox One all-in-one games and entertainment system. Based on Universal Pictures’ record-setting film franchise and created in collaboration with Universal, the game expands on the original Jurassic World mythology and puts players in charge of the Park, where they will have the opportunity to create and manage their own Jurassic World.

Today, Jeff Goldblum shared a video message announcing his return as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World Evolution. To preview and download the message, click here.

Forbidden Land of Eureka (Patch 4.25) Launched for FINAL FANTASY XIV Online


Patch 4.25 Brings New Battle Elements, Powerful Weapons and More

LOS ANGELES (Mar. 13, 2018) – The Forbidden Land, Eureka Anemos, emerges from the mists in FINAL FANTASY® XIV Online today with the launch of Patch 4.25. This mysterious new region is unexplored and untamed, where the elements are constantly in flux and players will be challenged by fresh battle elements they’ll need to master in order to obtain and enhance powerful new weapons. The patch also introduces the latest chapter in the adventures of the inspector extraordinaire, Hildibrand, and the seventh season of the Feast PvP.

The Forbidden Land, Eureka Anemos, is an expansive, unexplored area that brings a number of changes to the normal pillars of gameplay:
  • Field Area-Style Gameplay: Up to 144 players can participate. Players are encouraged to group up with fellow adventurers to hunt notorious monsters and work towards common goals.
  • Player Progression: Players will gain elemental EXP to strengthen their ability to harness the elements, but will need to be careful. Death in Eureka will result in lost EXP, and even lost levels, if players rashly rush in.
  • Altered Battle Mechanics: Additional strategy is required in battle through an element system, in which players must utilize the Magia Board to change the element affinity of their attack to oppose their enemy’s. Players will customize their Magia Board’s elemental attributes and must carefully consider their setup depending on the goal of the adventure.
  • Rewards: Players will occasionally earn protean crystals through exploration of Eureka, and may use them to enhance Eureka weapons and gear with the aid of the famed blacksmith, Gerolt.
Complete Patch 4.25 notes are available at:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Interview with Michael David Ares, author of Dayfall

Please welcome David Michael Ares to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Dayfall is published on March 13th by Tor Books.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Michael a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Michael:  An old west story called “Harvey Jones, Thief” at age 6. It included some “illustrations” (if you can call them that) that were little more than stick figures.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Michael:  Definitely a plotter. “Winging it” scares me.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michael:  The (usually) low amount of income, which causes other difficulties like motivation and making time to write.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Michael:  All the great books and movies I’ve scanned into my nearly photographic memory over the years since I was a child, and the better parts of the bad ones.

TQDescribe Dayfall in 140 characters or less.

Michael:  Inspired in part by Isaac Asimov’s classic story Nightfall, Dayfall is a neo-noir Training Day with a touch of Philip K. Dick.

TQTell us something about Dayfall that is not found in the book description.

Michael:  It features a plethora of really cool Manhattan locations, most of which are real places. Those settings and the dark/light/ultraviolet visual themes would make for a great-looking movie.

TQWhat inspired you to write Dayfall? What appealed to you about writing an SF / neo-noir thriller?

Michael:  I love classic noir, especially the Philip Marlowe novels by Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, etc.). But as much as I love re-reading them, they can’t be re-written, so “neo-noir” is the way to go for authors like me. And since I also love science fiction with a psychological bent, like the early works of Alfred Bester and Philip K. Dick, those kinds of elements were a perfect way for me to add the “neo” to my noir.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Dayfall?

Michael:  I did a lot of scientific reading to find out what would happen to Manhattan (and other Northern Hemisphere cities) if there was a nuclear conflagration between Pakistan and India , and I combed the Big Apple to find those really cool locations I mentioned.

TQWhy did you set the novel in Manhattan?

Michael:  Because it has those really cool locations, like the Flatiron Building that houses the Macmillan/Tor offices! Also, New York is a great place to start a series, and in my near-future world it is the first major city (before London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow) where the Dayfall occurs.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Dayfall.

Michael:  I love the cover, and I’m proud to say that I’m the one who came up with the idea to use an image of the Manhattan Solstice (or “Manhattanhenge,” as it’s often called). That‘s already such an amazing visual phenomenon, and in the world of the novel it takes on the additional qualities of mystery (what’s gonna happen?) and menace (will it be really bad?).

TQIn Dayfall who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Michael:  The easiest was Jon Phillips, the main protagonist, because he’s young and idealistic enough to be rather single-minded in his goals and motivations (at least in the first half of the story). The hardest was Jon’s enigmatic partner Frank Halladay, because it was a challenge to depict him as “rude, crude, and socially unacceptable” without making him too unlikeable or telegraphing which side he’s really on.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Dayfall?

Michael:  I didn’t intentionally include social issues—I just wanted to tell a good story—but they are a part of life, so they have a way of cropping up. Some have said that the wealthy industrialist Gareth Render, who wants to run the city, is reminiscent of Donald Trump. That was actually not intentional on my part, but in hindsight there are definitely some similarities between the two. And I think the primary sociological/political lesson illustrated in the novel is: “Don’t put your trust in princes,” because they’ll always let you down.

TQWhich question about Dayfall do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Michael:  Are the movie rights available? The answer is yes, and it would translate to the screen very well!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Dayfall.

Michael:  “In an eerie twist of fate, the 9/11 memorial had been prophetic as well as commemorative, because its inverse fountains conjured images of the buildings descending into a watery grave.” “Love is blind, Detective Phillips, and sex makes you stupid…there’s a reason for those clichés.”

TQWhat's next?

Michael:  I’m hoping to put out a series of sequels to Dayfall that will be set in London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow as the sunlight returns to those cities for the first time, and explore some of the interesting themes that were introduced in the first novel. Then I’d like to publish another series of novels set in the not-so-near future (about 50 years from now) and a third series set in the more distant future, all of which will have connections to one another in an epic literary world called the Exos Universe.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michael:  Thank you!

Tor Books, March 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages


In the near future, patches of the northern hemisphere have been shrouded in years of darkness from a nuclear winter, and the water level has risen in the North Atlantic. The island of Manhattan has lost its outer edges to flooding and is now ringed by a large seawall.

The darkness and isolation have allowed crime and sin to thrive in the never-ending shadows of the once great city, and when the sun finally begins to reappear, everything gets worse. A serial killer cuts a bloody swath across the city during the initial periods of daylight, and a violent panic sweeps through crowds on the streets. The Manhattan police, riddled with corruption and apathy, are at a loss.

That's when the Mayor recruits Jon Phillips, a small-town Pennsylvania cop who had just single-handedly stopped a high-profile serial killer in his own area, and flies him into the insanity of this new New York City. The young detective is partnered with a shady older cop and begins to investigate the crimes amidst the vagaries of a twenty-four hour nightlife he has never experienced before. Soon realizing that he was chosen for reasons other than what he was told, Jon is left with no one to trust and forced to go on the run in the dark streets, and below them in the maze of the underground. Against all odds he still hopes that he can save his own life, the woman of his dreams, and maybe even the whole city before the arrival of the mysterious and dreaded event that has come to be known as…. DAYFALL.

About Michael

Photo by Jonathan Hart Photography
MICHAEL DAVID ARES is an entrepreneur and educator who has started four community service businesses while writing and editing books for other people on the side. He is now a full-time author, and lives with his family in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Michael is the author of Dayfall.


Review: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Sometimes I Lie
Author:  Alice Feeney
Publisher:  Flatiron Books, March 13, 2018
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages
List Price:  US$26.99 (print); US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781250144843 (print); 9781250144836 (eBook)

"Boldly plotted, tightly knotted—a provocative true-or-false thriller that deepens and darkens to its ink-black finale. Marvelous.” —AJ Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?

Deb's Review

Sometimes I Lie is the aptly titled psychological thriller debut by Alice Feeney. Told from a first person point of view, protagonist Amber Reynolds admits from the first page that she’s an unreliable narrator:
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 
1. I’m in a coma. 
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 
3. Sometimes I lie.
This story is a dark-house ride where every blind turn sends the reader in dizzying circles where the tableaux are often breathtakingly unexpected and confusing. This review will be short because this is a tale best consumed in the dark.

We get to know Amber through her gauzy consciousness while in a coma after an unremembered accident; through tense flashbacks with her husband, sister, and co-workers prior to the accident; and through stories told in decades old journals from the perspective of a ten year old girl living in perpetual distress. Each new piece of Amber’s puzzle comes together to form an unsettling portrait of a woman in deepening crisis.

Feeney does a fantastic job of manipulating emotions, clues, and alternate meanings. Books built on plot twists can often leave a reader feeling abused by writers who jerk around facts to manufacture surprises, but Feeney relies on skilled misdirection, not cheap trickery, to stun and amaze.

As a protagonist, Amber is both fascinating and infuriating. In fact, it’s difficult to build up a lot of empathy for anyone in this cast of characters. This might be a death knell for some books, but in Sometimes I Lie, it’s just part of the delicious inability to know if anyone is being portrayed honestly through the filter of Amber’s coma and wracked memories.

I would definitely recommend Sometimes I Lie to folks who enjoy psychological thrillers and unreliable narrator stories. There isn’t a lot of gore, but it’s intense storytelling and you should certainly expect some unpleasantness.

There are three things you should know about this review:

1. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
2. I was upended by the plot twists.
3. I can’t stand liars . . . unless they’re fictional characters with a very cool story to tell.

PARADISO, Vol. 1: Essential Singularity Available in May

Collecting issues #1-4

PORTLAND, OR, 03/12/2018 — Writer Ram V (Grafity’s Wall, Black Mumba), artist Dev Pramanik (Nightbloom, Black Mumba), colorist Dearbhla Kelly (James Bond: Moneypenny), and letterer Aditya Bidikar (MOTOR CRUSH, Black Mumba) will release PARADISO, VOL. 1: ESSENTIAL SINGULARITY, collecting the first four issues of the psychedelic sci-fi series, this May from Image Comics.

Centuries ago, civilization collapsed in a single cataclysmic event known as The Midnight. Now, it seems humanity is only able to thrive in one place: a living, breathing city called Paradiso. And it seems it’s drawn Jack Kryznan, a man haunted by fragments of old memories—and in possession of a mysterious device of awesome power—to its gates.

PARADISO, VOL. 1: ESSENTIAL SINGULARITY (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0660-8, Diamond code: FEB180586) hits comic book stores Wednesday, May 16th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailer is Monday, March 12th.

Fans can find a special Book Market Edition cover of PARADISO, VOL. 1: ESSENTIAL SINGULARITY (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0883-1) in bookstores on Tuesday, May 22nd. It can be preordered via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Indigo, and Books-A-Million.

Note: Also available at Book Depository.