Aurora Award bundle spotlight: Maddie Hatter

Maddie Hatter CoverNext up in my spotlight series on the current ebook bundle of winners and finalists for Canada's premier speculative fiction award, the Aurora Award, is Jayne Barnard with  Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond.

In this first title in her young adult steampunk series, Jayne delivers rollicking adventure, fantastic machines, colourful characters, and a heroine who uses her curiosity and intelligence to solve a mystery that will keep you guessing to the end. Jayne was kind enough to drop by and answer some questions on Maddie

1. Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

Lady Sarah. She’s a Becky Sharp, a woman making her way up in the world through application of wit, charm, guile, and a few well-chosen aliases. She’s a lot of fun to write, and I thoroughly enjoyed sampling her continued adventuring in the third book, ‘Maddie Hatter and the Timely Taffeta’ (Tyche Books, October 2017).

2. What's your favourite relationship between two characters in this book and why?

I most admire – even envy – the relationship between Maddie and her mentor, Madame Taxus-Hemlock. While she has Maddie’s best interests at heart and helps her out when she’s stuck, Madame’s not an enabler. She supports Maddie’s strengths, empowering her with the skills and resources she needs to tackle challenges for herself. Mentoring is a vital relationship in business and in life, and women need greater familiarity with both sides of it.

3. What's your favourite scene in this book and why?

The ‘all suspects in the drawing room’ scene. Partly because it’s set in an isolated manor house on a Cornish moor - a trope I happily parodied from Gothic romances - and party because it’s a cliché of detective fiction that lends itself to up-ending. Like his better-known counterpart in the mustache-laden detective field, Hercule Hornblower attempts to manipulate and browbeat confessions out of each suspect in turn, but nothing in Maddie’s world works out the way it’s expected to, and so of course this scene doesn’t either.

4. Did you know you were writing a series when you first began this book, or did the idea of a series grow from the telling of this book?

The series grew out of this book. I had such fun with the characters - their improbable names, their gadgets, their dubious ethics – that I wasn’t ready to let them (most of them) go happily off into the New York sunset after all their adventures. When I started the second book, my publisher and I knew it would be a five-book series, each one a complete adventure that can stand on its own and yet, when taken all together, forming a single over-arching story of Maddie’s growth from a reckless adolescent to a respected professional in her Jules-Verne-meets-Indiana-Jones world.

And a short bio for Jayne:

Jayne Barnard is a founding member of Madame Saffron's Parasol Dueling League for Steampunk Ladies and the author of the Aurora-nominated Maddie Hatter Adventures. Her crime stories, set anywhere from the real past to several alternate futures, have seen print and prizes across Canada.

Fuelled by love of the wild, she's at work on a trilogy of mystery novels set in the forested foothills of the Rockies. The first, When the Flood Falls, won the Dundurn Unhanged Arthur in 2016 and is slated for release in 2018. She divides her writing year between Calgary, Alberta with an orange cat, and the rocky shore of Vancouver Island, where her only regular companion is an owl.

Check out the bundle here for more information and details on each of the included titles. And remember, it's available for a very limited time only, from now until November 30 at midnight.

Aurora Award bundle spotlight: Scream Queen

Scream Queen CoverI wrote earlier this week about the third ebook bundle of winners and finalists for Canada's premier speculative fiction award, the Aurora Award, that I'm curating for StoryBundle. The bundle runs to November 30, and over the next couple of weeks, I'll be highlighting the various books in the bundle by posting a serious of short interviews with the authors.

First up is Edo van Belkom, winner of the Bram Stoker Award and two-time winner of the Aurora. Edo's bundle entry is Scream Queen, a fun and creepy romp that uses reality TV to put a dark twist on the haunted house genre.

1. Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I really enjoyed writing about the Gowan brothers. Throughout the writing of the novel I pictured Bruce Campbell and Jack Black playing the brothers. SCREAM QUEEN was optioned once, but it never got to the point where I could make that suggestion.

2. What was the toughest scene to write in this book and why?

The toughest scene to write was right at the end. There is a way all these types of stories end and I didn’t want to do that. As it turned out, I think most people like it when stories are not turned on their ear. I’d still do it again. I always thought the Gowan brothers were the real heroes of the book, even though they might be slimy they come out unscathed… which one can argue is somewhat the way the world turns.

3. What's your favourite scene in this book and why?

I had a blast writing the scenes with the production crew as things were getting worse and worse in the house. I had to make it reasonable that people would stick around and continue to operate in the face of mounting horror. More money offered to the crew seemed to solve a lot.

4. What was the biggest surprise writing this book?

Authors often say the book practically wrote itself and I must say that was the case with SCREAM QUEEN. I knew where it was going so getting to that point was fairly easy to write and a lot of fun. I knew all along who was going to make it and who wasn't and I'm proud to say I stuck with that til the very end.

And a short bio for Edo:

Edo van Belkom, a former reporter on the sports and police beats for newspapers in and around Toronto, arrived on the horror scene in 1990. His first short story sale, "Baseball Memories," was selected for the prestigious Year's Best Horror Stories edited by Karl Edward Wagner. The story was also nominated for Canada's prestigious Aurora Award and appeared with work by Mordecai Richler and W. P. Kinsella in The Grand Slam Book of Canadian Baseball Writing.

Van Belkom hasn't looked back since. Some 150 short stories have sold to a variety of top magazines and anthologies. He has twice won the Aurora Award, taken home the Bram Stoker Award once, and been a finalist on many other occasions in a variety of categories spanning his work as a novelist, anthologist, and non-fiction author. His YA novel Wolf Pack won Ontario's prestigious Silver Birch Award. You can read more about Edo and his other books here.

Check out the bundle here for more information and details on each of the included titles. And remember, it's available for a very limited time only, from today until November 30 at midnight.

A great deal on the best in Canadian speculative fiction

Aurora Awards Storybundle 3 coversHow would you like to own, at an incredible bargain, ten books that readers like yourself have already voted to be the best examples of speculative fiction published in Canada? Well, here's your chance. I'm once again curating an ebook bundle for StoryBundle.com of winners and finalists for Canada's premier speculative fiction award, the Aurora Award.

The Auroras are awarded annually by the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association (CSFFA) for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Introduced in 1980 as the Casper, it was renamed the Aurora Award in 1990. I'm honored to have won the Aurora three times and to have been on the final ballot another sixteen.

This Aurora bundle again delivers a great mix of speculative fiction genres: SF, fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, steam punk, as well as young adult. The titles reflect the long history of the Auroras, spanning nearly a quarter century of Canadian speculative fiction from 1993 to 2016.

This bundle also provides a great introduction to several wonderful series, including the first title in three separate series and the second book in two more (which can be read as stand-alone titles). And the bundle lets you sample the rich tradition of Canadian short speculative fiction, with two acclaimed anthologies and a collection.

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you feel generous), you'll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format worldwide:

  • Destiny's Fall by Marie Bilodeau
  • Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond by Jayne Barnard
  • Evolve edited by Nancy Kilpatrick
  • Scream Queen by Edo van Belkom

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the above titles, plus six more:

  • Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Tesseracts14 edited by John Robert Colombo and Brett Savory
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther
  • Steel Whispers by Hayden Trenholm
  • Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by David Nickle
  • Relativity by Robert J. Sawyer

The bundle allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

Check out the bundle here for more information and details on each of the included titles. And remember, it's available for a very limited time only, from today until November 30 at midnight.

#SFWApro

50+ free urban fantasy titles

Urban Fantasy BookFunnel BundleAnother great ebook bundle promotion from BookFunnel launched today, this one with fifty-two urban fantasy titles. And as usual with these BookFunnel multi-author promos, all the titles are free!

Download as many titles as you want. All you need to provide is your email address to subscribe to the author's mailing list. BookFunnel makes it so easy to get your ebook onto your ereader, no matter what type of device you use. If you encounter problems, BookFunnel technical support is there to help.

You can always unsubscribe to an author's newsletter at any time. So I hope you'll check out the bundle here. It runs from October 30 - November 10, then it's over.

Kobo sale on THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Kobo is running a 40% off sale on a number of titles, including my paranormal suspense / urban fantasy novel, The Wolf at the End of the World. Here's the link to the promo page on Kobo. Use discount code 40SAVE. The sale runs from today to Oct 30.

"Going Harvey in the Big House" reprinted in Black Infinity

Black Infinity coverThis news is so cool from several viewpoints. First, my story "Going Harvey in the Big House" is being reprinted in the very first issue of the new SF magazine, Black Infinity, now available here on Amazon. This issue is titled "Deadly Planets."

That's great all by itself, but check out the awesome retro-SF cover. Isn't that great? Love it.

But the absolute best part is getting my name on the cover on top of a list that includes Clifford D. Simak, Harry Harrison, and Jack Kirby. I loved Simak's short stories when I started reading SF, especially his novel Out of Their Minds. And I devoured Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat books. And Jack Kirby? The "King of Comics"? Yeah, definitely made my day.

"Going Harvey in the Big House" first appeared in the US young adult magazine, Cicada, in 2005. It was a finalist for Canada's Aurora Award in 2006.

I hope you'll check out the issue and help support a new magazine. Amazon link is here.

 

More free ebooks: 75 SF & Fantasy titles

SF & Fantasy BookFunnel BundleHere's another great ebook bundle promotion from BookFunnel that is launching this Sunday. This one offers seventy-five science fiction and fantasy titles – and all for free!

Once again, you can download any or all of the books in the bundle. And again, for any book you download, all you need to do is give your email address and agree to subscribe to the author's mailing list. BookFunnel is painless and smooth in getting your ebook onto your ereader, no matter what type of device you use. If you encounter problems getting the book onto your ereader, BookFunnel technical support is there to help you.

As I've said before, I see no downside to these promos for readers. You can always unsubscribe to an author's newsletter(s) at any time. But you might not want to. Many authors, like me, give away free stuff to their subscribers or offer other perks to followers such as discounts, special offers, or chances to be beta readers or participate in cool contests (like getting a character in a book named after you). So check out the bundle here. It runs from October 22-28, then it's over.

"Fiddleheads" in Group Hex, Vol. 2

Group Hex 2 Anthology CoverI'm thrilled to have my story, "Fiddleheads," included in the upcoming horror anthology, Group Hex 2, which, as the number implies, is the second such volume containing stories from members of the Ontario chapter of HWA (Horror Writers of America). I also had a story ("By Her Hand, She Draws You Down") in volume 1, so it's great to be in the second volume as well.

Volume 2 again has an excellent lineup of authors, with a mix of best-sellers, cult faves, and impressive newcomers: Kelley Armstrong, Suzanne Church, Brian Clement, Derek Clendening, Alessia Giacomi, Sephera Giron, Danann Hawes, Repo Kempt, Nancy Kilpatrick, Monica S. Kuebler, Shebat Legion, John R. Little, Stephen B. Pearl, Mary Rajotte, Lou Rera, Andrew Robertson, Douglas Smith, Robert Smith, Julianne Snow, Jessie Turk, and Jason White. Collected by Andrew Robertson. Art editor Brad Middleton.

The book will be released with an official launch on October 26, suitably just before Halloween, at the Glad Day Bookshop at 499 Church St. in Toronto, starting at 7:30pm. After release, it will be available on Amazon for Kindle, with other retailers to follow for both print and ebook editions.

Fifty free fantasy books

Fall Fantasy ebook bundle promotionAnother great ebook bundle promotion from BookFunnel is launching today. This one offers fifty fantasy titles and all for free!

The promotion works like others from BookFunnel. You can download any or all of the books in the bundle just by signing up to the author's mailing list by providing your email address. And BookFunnel is fantastic in getting your ebook onto your ereader, no matter what type of device you use. If you encounter any problems getting the book onto your ereader (unlikely), BookFunnel technical support is there to help you.

There's no downside to these promos for readers. You can always unsubscribe to the newsletter(s) after at any time. But you might not want to. Many authors, like me, give away free stuff to their subscribers on a regular basis or offer other perks to followers such as discounts, special offers, or chances to be beta readers or participate in cool contests (like getting a character in a book named after you).

So check out the bundle here. It runs from October 16-30, then it's over.

Over 70 free ebooks in the Booktoberfest bundle

Booktoberfest ebook bundle promotionBooktoberfest is another great ebook bundle with a great selection of 70+ paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction, horror, and suspense titles. The bundle is a promotion from BookFunnel, which means that all the titles are FREE! Yep, over seventy ebooks for free.

As with any BookFunnel promotion, you can download any or all of the books in the bundle, provided you signup to the author's mailing list by providing your email address. And BookFunnel is fantastic in getting your ebook onto your ereader, no matter what type of device you use.

There's no downside to these promos for readers. You can always unsubscribe to the newsletter(s) after at any time. But you might not want to. Many authors, like me, give away free stuff to their subscribers on a regular basis or offer other perks to followers such as discounts, special offers, or chances to be beta readers or participate in cool contests (like getting a character in a book named after you).

So check out the bundle here. It runs to October 31, then it's over.

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