The reviews for my debut novel, Kojiki are starting to show up. Here is the first. Hat tip to Goodreads.com
After too long away, I’m back to show you the cover for my debut novel, Kojiki, available Aug. 2 in the US and Aug 4 in the UK. Look for it pretty much everywhere you buy your books. Click here to read the first chapter or visit fantasy-faction.com.
Thanks to my publisher Angry Robot Books and fantastic cover artist Thomas Walker.
Cover art reveal for Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi, an new urban fantasy from Angry Robot Books!
Jade Dragon Mountain is a refreshing change from many of the other ARCs publishers had out at this year’s Book Expo America, too many of which suffered from A Game of Thrones ‘grim-is- in’ meme. Now, as much as I like AGOT (TV, really, not so much the books), I’ve had my fill of all these overly dark stories. Seriously. I actually stopped reading a book this summer—a rarity for me—when the author kept upping the characters’ suffering in ways irrelevant to the plot.
Luckily for me, Jade Dragon Mountain has none of that.
Debut author author Elsa Hart smartly gives her story a classic Agatha Christie feel. And setting the mystery in 18th century China only adds to the book’s exotic flair. Along the way, I’d often recall James Clavell’s brilliant Asia-focused novels, Shogun and Tai-Pan. To be sure, Jade Dragon Mountain isn’t as rich or as ambitious as those works, but I doubt Ms. Hart meant it to be.
What we get here is an engaging and wildly entertaining book with a great cast of three-dimensional characters, an exotic often mystical setting, and a feeling of timelessness that engages the reader right from the start.
The exiled and disgraced main character, former Beijing Librarian Li Du, is fascinating, intelligent, and easy to root for. I followed his investigation into the death of a foreigner, a Jesuit priest, with interest. Li Du relies on his wits and his exceptional, if incredibly cordial, questioning of suspects to solve the case. To up the ante, Li Du faces an unbending deadline in the first ever Imperial visit to this remote section of China, several likely suspects, and a village all too willing to muddy the waters through gossip.
If I had to find any flaw, it would be that some of the breadcrumbs Ms Hart leaves for the reader are a little too easy to spot. Fortunately, none of this detracts from the overall storytelling or reading experience.
In sum, Jade Dragon Mountain is a dazzling debut for Ms. Hart. I’ll look forward to her next book with interest. Jade Dragon Mountain is out in September 2015. Go get it.
It is my absolute pleasure to share this announcement with you. Clarissa Johal is a good author friend of mine, and a chilling horror writer. Please take a peek and pre-order her new book, The Island, using the buy links below. Unless you’re scared🙂
“Exploring a remote island can sometimes get you into trouble.
Especially when you stumble upon a cave and awaken two demons.”
Title: THE ISLAND
Genre: Paranormal Horror
Author: Clarissa Johal
Editor: Marisa Chenery
Booktrope, Forsaken Imprint (2015)
Number of Pages: 210
About THE ISLAND:
Emma Keller’s estranged grandmother has been missing for seven years. Emma journeys to her grandmother’s private island with the task of readying it for sale. Local rumors say it’s cursed, but she dismisses them as superstition. While there, she unearths a hidden cave, and is visited by two men soon after. Itu is well-spoken, though he hides his face in shadow. The other is more of a worry; with skin of alabaster, Thim’s feral presence sets her on edge. Emma discovers the island has a dark past. The two men aren’t human, but awakened demons…and they have their sights set on her.
Excerpt from THE ISLAND:
She was jarred awake by a cry. The vestiges of her nightmare dissipated as she orientated herself. Nightmare. Emma let out a sigh of relief. The cry sounded again. A distant sound, high and wailing. A baby’s cry. Her heart quickened. Good god, surely that can’t be a baby?
The fire in the stove had burned down, its embers lending a glow to the living room. Emma looked out the front window. The yard was still. She unlocked the door and opened it a crack. The cry drifted in with the breeze, faint but unmistakable. She ran through her mind what possible bird or animal could make the sound and came up with nothing. Characteristically, the island was blanketed with silence, almost like a vacuum. She stood, uncertain. After several minutes, the sound started again—the unmistakable high wail of a baby. She slipped on her boots and parka.
Fog trailed like cobwebs in her wake. The mournful cry threaded through the trees and came from the direction of the house ruins. In spite of a growing anxiety at what she’d find, she quickened her pace. If that is a baby, it’s still alive, and I need to get to it. If it’s not a baby… She blocked out the possibilities of what else it could be.
She approached the ruins and the sound stopped. Her heart raced. I know it was coming from here. The area held an unnatural heaviness. A branch cracked behind her and she turned with a start. Something dark darted through the trees.
“Hello?” Her voice sounded muffled in the fog. Emma’s attention snapped to the left. The dark figure ducked out of sight. She took one step backward, and fled.
Heavy footsteps echoed from behind as she plunged through the trees. They were catching up with her. Emma pushed herself to run faster, terrified she’d lose her footing on the uneven ground. The cabin loomed large, a haven in the thick fog. Stumbling across the cabin’s porch, she hurdled through the door and slammed it shut, locking it.
Emma rooted her feet to keep from running around in circles. Straining to hear, she was greeted with eerie silence. Several moments passed before the baby’s cry started again. And this time, it sounded from right outside the door.
THE ISLAND Buy Links:
About the Author:
Clarissa Johal is the author of paranormal novels, THE ISLAND, VOICES, STRUCK, and BETWEEN. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing, taking pictures of gargoyles, or swinging from a trapeze. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.
*Member of the Horror Writers Association
*Member of the Authors Guild
Coming August 5, 2015 from Booktrope
(May 2015) Permuted Press
(2014) Musa Publishing
(2015) Clarissa Johal
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014
*Winner of the Indie Book of the Day Award
(2012) Musa Publishing
(2015) Clarissa Johal
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Winner of the Indie Book of the Day Award
(2010) Clarissa Johal
*Second round finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012
PIGEONS (Susurrus Literary Journal)
THE ROPE (Susurrus Literary Journal)
Find Clarissa Online:
Take note Hollywood: THIS is how you move an overshadowed character from the darkness and put her into the spotlight. Until now, I’ve never seen Lois Lane as anything but Superman’s requisite window dressing and love interest. Not that it’s her fault. She’s faired rather poorly in most media incarnations. Granted, my knowledge comes from her various movie and tv incarnations, (I’m not a comic reader, so it’s entirely possible she’s received better treatment there. I just haven’t seen it.)
With Fallout, she’s no longer an after-though. She’s front and center. Gloriously so. Ms. Bond’s Lois Lane is fearless, feisty, and engaging. She’s far more interesting than ‘Smallvilleguy’, whose cameos never made me want to see more of him. I love what Ms. Bond’s done here. Making the MC someone other than the superhero adds an air of wonder and mystery to Superman that Ms. Bond gloriously exploits. Let’s be honest: wouldn’t Batman be far more interesting if the shorty presented him like the Alien in Ridley Scott’s classic Alien film: a nightmare in the shadows. Imagine that, a horror movie, but one substituting villains for comely coeds, a movie with the hero as the monster.
But I digress, something Fallout never does. From the start, Lois Lane is central here–even if she’s only 16. Wonderfully drawn, and easy to cheer for, she takes on a group of creepy students who find themselves caught up in a larger conspiracy. Saying anymore would be too much of a spoiler–and I don’t want to spoil it.
Suffice it to say, I blew through this book. I loved every page. I can’t wait for the next book! Please hurry, Ms. Bond. I need more!
I’m dying to see this. It’s been on my MUST-SEE short list for a while now. Finding the time’s been the problem–that and New England’s endless snow. I WILL see to Kingsman, though. Even if I have to wait for video. It looks fresh and original. Yeah, even I’m getting tired of remakes, reboots, and sequels.