Stacia Kane

Other August Books

In an effort to stop obsessing over my own book coming out tomorrow, I wanted to point out a few of the other books showing up in August. (I’ll add sales links for Kane and Klasky when they become available tomorrow.)

Wrong Ways Down [Amazon], by Stacia Kane. (August 6) For fans of Kane’s Downside series, I’ll just mention that this story is from Terrible’s point of view, which is something I suspect many of you will appreciate.

Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], edited by Todd McCaffrey. (August 6) A collection of memories, essays, and insights about the creator of Pern.

Possession [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], by Kat Richardson. (August 6) has an excerpt from Richardson’s latest Greywalker book here.

Single Witch’s Survival Guide, by Mindy Klasky. (August 13) This is the first volume of Klasky’s Jane Madison Academy series, where her librarian-witch opens a school for witches. Go Team Librarian! The first chapter is posted here.

Velveteen vs. The Multiverse, by Seanan McGuire. (Mid-August) I wrote the introduction for McGuire’s first delightful Velveteen collection, and I’m very excited to see the second coming out! Preorder from ISFiC Press here.

What are you looking forward to reading this month?


Unholy Ghosts, by Stacia Kane

As I start thinking more about my next series, I find myself paying attention to what makes books stand out. Why does one fantasy hit big while another goes out of print and disappears?

This was in the back of my mind as I read Unholy Ghosts [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Stacia Kane (stacia_kane on LJ). From a distance, this looks like another urban fantasy, albeit with a cooler cover than most, but two things stood out as I started reading:

1. The setting. Urban fantasy, yes … but we’re talking about postapocalyptic urban fantasy.

2. The protagonist, Chess Putnam, is an unapologetic drug addict.

When the world changed and the dead rose, only the Church of Real Truth was able to control them.  Chess works as a debunker for the church, prosecuting those who falsely claim to be haunted, and dealing with the occasional real ghost. Her latest job puts her squarely in the sights of two rival drug dealers, a powerful ghost, and a conspiracy to destroy the church itself…

I admit, I struggled some with Chess’ character.  I grew up in the Nancy Reagan “Just say No!” years, so reading about a protagonist constantly scarfing pills and anything else she can find to give her that high … it’s distasteful.  Glancing through some reader reviews, I see I’m not alone in my discomfort.

But it also felt appropriate for the character, and for the world.  This is a dark, broken world.  The old religions have been destroyed, and the Church of Real Truth rules.  We’re shown some of the ruins of the old world, and what emerged feels rather dysfunctional … though Chess is our lens to this world, and she doesn’t strike me as the most reliable narrator, so I could be wrong.   (I’m hoping to see more of the world in future books, so that I can do a better job explaining why and what all feels dysfunctional to me.)

I do wish we’d learned a bit more about the Church and its employees.  We see much more of the drug dealers and enforcers than we do the Church folk, and partly as a result, the latter can come off as a little flat on occasion.  (Hopefully this is another area which will be explored more in the next books.)

It was a good book, from the very first (and awesome) opening line.  It definitely kept me turning the pages.  Kane takes risks with her writing, and even though I suspect those risks might turn some readers off, I think they resulted in a stronger, more interesting book.

So the lessons I’m taking from this one?  Take risks.  Be different.  Don’t be afraid to go there.

You can read an excerpt on Kane’s web site.  And for those of you who’ve read it, what did you think?

My Job Rocks, Part XVIII

For anyone in mid-Michigan, I’ve got a booksigning at pizza party tonight from 6:00 – 8:00 at Schuler Books in Okemos.  (Former Lansing signings have been at the Eastwood location.  If you go to the Eastwood store tonight, I won’t be there, and neither will all of that hot, yummy pizza.)

Any suggestions or requests for what you’d like me to read?


I also wanted thank everyone who’s posted reviews or comments about Red Hood’s Revenge on Amazon, Twitter, blogs, or wherever.  It’s very much appreciated, and I’m glad most of you have been enjoying it.


Not writing-related: my daughter Clara returned last night after a week up north with a friend.  She brought a monarch butterfly chrysalis and a caterpillar who’s about to form another chrysalis.  (She’s always been interested in the bugs.)

I’d never seen a monarch chrysalis before, and I couldn’t photograph the thing, but they’re beautiful.  Light green with metallic gold highlights.  It looks exactly like someone painted gold leaf over the raised ridge and bumps near the top.  Very cool.


Anyway, back to the rocking job.  In the past week, I’ve received books by Stacia Kane (autographed!), Sherwood Smith, and Beth Bernobich, and I should be receiving a copy of Erin Hoffman‘s forthcoming novel Sword of Fire and Sea soon as well.  Three of these four books won’t be out for a little while yet, but I get to read them all.  Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!  I love my job!


Other New Books

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from one week in the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.


So for the past two days, I’ve talked about Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  This raises another question:

Hey Jim, don’t you ever get tired of talking about your own book?

Yes.  Yes I do.  So here are some of the other books out this week!

Rift in the Sky [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Julie Czerneda.  This is the mass market release of book three in Czerneda’s Stratification series.  Czerneda is a fellow DAW author, and writes amazing aliens.  (In part because she has a fourth-degree black belt in biology.)

The Fuller Memorandum [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Charles Stross.  This is book three in Stross’ Bob Howard – Laundry series.  Harriet Klausner describes this book as “a terrific pull no punches paranormal espionage thriller” … which means it’s probably an epic romantic fantasy with weevils.  Either way, it’s Charlie Stross — check it out!

Unbroken Chain [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Jaleigh Johnson.  This is another of Johnson’s Forgotten Realms novels.  It has no weevils that I am aware of.  (I enjoyed her previous FR book Mistshore, which I reviewed here.)

Unholy Magic [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Stacia Kane.  This is the second book in Kane’s Downside Ghosts series.  You can read an excerpt or download the first five chapters on Kane’s website.  This one may or may not have weevils.

Winter Duty [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by E. E. Knight.  This is the mass market release of book #8 in Knight’s Vampire Earth series.  (My review of book one is here.)  This one definitely has weevils … alien vampire weevils!

So which of these are you rushing out to buy?  And what other great new books are out that I’m missing?

Jim C. Hines