Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Who: Kate Elliott, Sci Fi and Fantasy writer, author of several series including the Novels of the Jaran, the Crossroads Trilogy and more recently, the Spiritwalker series. The first book in the latter, Cold Magic (which Thea has reviewed here) has catapulted the author to the top of Thea’s favourite authors list.
Recent Work: Cold Fire, book 2 in the Spiritwalker trilogy, reviewed HERE.
Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for Kate Elliott!
I’m going to be honest: 2011 was a very hard year for me and mine. I will be glad to see the end of it and hope that 2012 brings gladsome tidings and maybe a fab new skirt for all of us (or at least, those who wear skirts: A little known fact is that I used to never wear skirts and now I only wear skirts unless I’m instead wearing board shorts or workout clothes).
You know what came through for me in 2011?
What an amazing number of good books! It seems like ten years ago I struggled to find enough books to read; now there are so many I can’t possibly read all the new novels and next-of-series that interest me. I’m perpetually swimming upstream knowing I’ll never reach the end. What an awesome problem to have.
I don’t have room to list all the good books I read in 2011. I’m going to focus on three excellent novels I wish had gotten more attention. Then there’s a surprise gift at the end of the post.
M. J. Locke’s Up Against It is in many ways classic science fiction about an asteroid colony facing several different emergencies at the same time, both physical and political. Why did I love it? Great world building, for one. Here’s another reason: I love the main character, administrator Jane Navio. She’s a mature woman who is competent, smart, and in charge. Why do we see so few older women with full lives, awesome skills, and a central place in the story? The paperback releases in January 2012.
Author Katharine Kerr has lived in San Francisco, California, for her entire adult life. Her familiarity with the iconic city shows in her new urban fantasy series about psychic agent Nola O’Grady (that’s agent as in working for a secret government agency). One of the things that makes this series work so well for me is family. Nola comes from a large Irish-Catholic family whose members have talents as peculiar as her own, which makes for moments of great hilarity as well as deep danger. License to Ensorcell (February 2011) is book one, followed by Water to Burn (August 2011) and Apocalypse to Go (February 2012).
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (January 2011). Writer Steven Gould (7th Sigma, you should read it) recommended this to me. I read the first few pages and thought, “well, maybe, but this seems kind of like a well-told but not particularly original story about a young male (no one on this world is quite human) trying to find out where he came from” . . . and then the world and the character of Moon and the people he runs into on his journey utterly swallowed me up. Plus, the females in this world are totally badass in the best possible way. I did not want this book to end. Wow. The book stands on its own, but fortunately a sequel, The Serpent Sea, comes out next month (January 2012).
As for me, while I have projects I’m poking at which include a fourth novel set in the Crossroads setting (Spirit Gate & sequels) and some ideas still in the formative phase, my focus right now is finishing Cold Steel (Spiritwalker #3).
For those who have read this far, and especially of interest to those who have read Cold Magic (Spiritwalker #1), I have a Smugglivus gift.
Back in March 2011 Cold Magic was part of the DBWAHA March Madness book tournament. As part of the game, during the second or third round (I can’t recall which), I pledged to write a short story featuring the character Rory if I won that round. I did win that round (eventually losing in the Elite Eight to historical romance novelist Courtney Milan), but because the mere thought of writing a short story intimidates me, it took me months to work my way through it. Due in large part to a challenge by writer N.K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy, you should read it), I managed on the day after Thanksgiving to finish this story about a sabertooth cat who can wear the form of a man.
Disclaimer: The story has no redeeming social value whatsoever. Also, no dogs were actually harmed in the writing of the story. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Giveaway (5 books): If you haven’t read Cold Magic but want to (or if you want a signed copy for yourself or to give to someone else as a gift), or if you’ve read Cold Magic but not yet Cold Fire, here’s your chance. Each winner can choose a signed copy of either Cold Magic or Cold Fire (Cold Fire will include a printed (& signed) pamphlet of Bonus Chapter 31.5, a “chapter” that is not in the book but is chronologically part of the story). Or you can ask for a copy of one of the Crossroads books (#1 is Spirit Gate).
Have a Festive Smugglivus!
Courtesy of the author, we are giving away five signed copies of her books. In order to enter, you must leave a comment here that states:
1. Which book you’d like to receive (Cold Magic, Cold Fire or one of the Crossroads Books);
2. From where you are based (US or International)
If both of these criteria are not met, your comment will not be entered. The contest is open to EVERYBODY (two books to be sent internationally, three books to the US only) and will run until December 17 2011, 11:59 PM (PST). Good luck!