Guest Post: Writing Great Fantasy Characters Mar11

Guest Post: Writing Great Fantasy Characters...

The inimitable Terry Newman is guest blogging for us today on fantasy characters and ways to write them: Great fantasy is filled with excitement, with magic, with supernatural happenings and imaginary worlds. Great fantasy is also filled with great characters. It’s one thing to make an internally coherent universe where everything works out by its own rules, but it can be harder to create characters we believe in and want to spend time with. We do have fantasy heroes we love of course, and villains we love to hate too, but sometimes our belief in these people can be stretched, while we are quite happy to read about an exciting world where Greek gods now run a fast food franchise. Book heroes can be particularly tricky to write. It can be easier writing heroes for film. In film there is more emphasis on protagonists. To clarify some terminology, in film the protagonist can be just defined as the main character or the character the audience empathises with the most or, more usefully, the protagonist is the person in the story that undergoes change. They are the character who learns something throughout the story that changes them and enables them to win through at the climax. Change is brilliant as it provides guidelines for developing a character – a start and end point as it were. The requirements of protagonism can assist your book writing too, and help you create more believable 3D characters. Getting a proper handle on a character’s emotional and psychological internal story really does help make them more credible. This does not mean that the protagonist has to be the hero though. The gunslinger in an old-style Western rides into town, shoots the bad guys, and rides out again! What a hero!...

The 8 best deaths in space Mar11

The 8 best deaths in space...

1) The alien bursting out of John Kane’s chest in Alien. Because aaaaaaaghhhh! This scene lives forever in the mind of anyone who has seen it. 2) Have you see Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It’s pretty recent, so we won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say that someone gets pushed off of something by someone and it made us go ‘Nooooooooooooooo’ out loud in the cinema. This was our actual reaction: 3) James Smythe’s The Explorer sees almost the entire crew of the Ishiguro killed off by the end of the first chapter in a series of mysterious accidents. Or is there something more sinister at work? Of course there is in this ‘tightly knotted, expertly constructed space trip of a read’ (Guardian) (and I mean, not that we’re biased or anything, but this really is a cracking book). 4) An oldie, but still one of the best (and most surprising): Hal severing Poole’s life line to the ship, in 2001: A Space Odyssey. 5) Moon’s Sam Bell. Sam discovers that he is not alone on the moon as he’d thought, but that he is one of many clones who have been sent there with no plans to return to earth. A new clone takes over every three years, when the old body is ‘retired’ (ie: incinerated!). 6) Not actually set in space, but still has the claustrophobic ‘we’re on a ship and we can’t get out’ feeling you often get in SciFi thrillers. The Cube film was basically an excuse to test out CGI ways of killing people. That said, we are also fans of Cube 2: Hypercube and Cube Zero. What can we say, it’s just gripping and grisly stuff… 7) ALL THE DEATHS in Interstellar. But mostly, Matt Damon’s...

Growing and changing: Jason Gurley on writing Eleanor Mar10

Growing and changing: Jason Gurley on writing Eleanor...

Jason Gurley’s stunning novel ELEANOR is out today – here Jason tells us about the epic journey behind the book… Now and then I wonder: If I’d known, when I started writing Eleanor, that it would take nearly fifteen years to get it right, would I have kept going? I’d like to think so, but I’m almost certain I’d have abandoned ship right then. Fifteen years? So much can happen in fifteen years. Over the course of such a long project, it’s a foregone conclusion that an author will grow and change. It might not be immediately obvious how that affects the book. From where I sit now, at the end of that long ride, it’s startlingly clear how much Eleanor — and how much I — have changed since we first got started. I envisioned the book for the first time during a road trip through Oregon, on my way home to Nevada. When I began writing the book in 2001, I was twenty-three years old, and both in the midst and on the verge of enormous life changes. (Rather, life changes that seemed enormous to me at the time.) I grew up in a Pentecostal home, with rather sturdy religious boundaries herding me this way and that. It wasn’t until my early twenties that it occurred to me that my life actually belonged to me. It was mine, and I could choose what to do with it. If that seems like a bit of a late revelation, it’s because it was. Eleanor, in those early days, was a reflection of my own struggles with faith and doctrine. The novel was about a girl who tumbles into a coma and meets God, then recovers and sets off looking for God in the real...

Publication day: Joe Abercrombie’s HALF A WAR Mar10

Publication day: Joe Abercrombie’s HALF A WAR...

Today sees the release of Joe Abercrombie’s Half a War in paperback, meaning that you can now get the entire The Shattered Sea series in beautiful matching soft covers. If you haven’t started The Shattered Sea now, this is the perfect time to start. WORDS ARE WEAPONS Princess Skara has seen all she loved turned to ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. ONLY HALF A WAR IS FOUGHT WITH SWORDS The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. But now he faces the greatest army since the elves made war on God. SOMETIMES ONE MUST FIGHT EVIL WITH EVIL Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness… Pick up Half a War here in paperback, or get a copy of Half a King here, and start reading the first book in the series...

Cover Reveal! Graeme K. Talboys’ EXILE AND PILGRIM Mar03

Cover Reveal! Graeme K. Talboys’ EXILE AND PILGRIM...

We have a gorgeous new cover to show you today – it’s for Graeme K. Talboys’ second book in his Shadow in the Storm series, EXILE AND PILGRIM, which has been put together by our amazing in-house designer, Cherie Chapman (who also did the first cover). This is the kind of cover that could inspire you to go on an adventure (or at least take a long walk through gorgeous landscape). Fittingly, in book two our hero Jeniche is on another epic quest, with friends old and new at her side…. Jeniche of Antar’s old life has a nasty habit of catching up with her.   Jeniche has been a thief, a fugitive and an enemy of the law. After her clash with deadly Occassan soldiers, the remote northern land of Ynysvron seemed like a good place to lie low. Yet just when she feels ready to call this land home, her unique skills are called upon once again. Jeniche has impressed the warriors of Ynysvron, and they want her to join their dangerous quest for lost treasure. But when an old friend joins their group, Jeniche realises that the quest is far more than it seems. Her new home is under threat of invasion, and the treasure she must seek might be their only hope of survival.   EXILE AND PILGRIM is available for pre-order in ebook format. Not caught up yet? STEALING INTO WINTER is available here in paperback, and here in ebook format. You can follow the author on Twitter @graemeKtalboys and...

Publication Day: Stephen Moore’s GRAYNELORE Feb25

Publication Day: Stephen Moore’s GRAYNELORE...

Happy publication day to Stephen Moore, whose fantasy GRAYNELORE is out in paperback today! He’s written a post to share with us the basis for his faerie tale, which is absolutely fascinating (and a little terrifying):   Several years ago I had a most revealing conversation with my mother about her family roots. I discovered, to my amazement, that my ancestors include infamous 16th Century Border Reivers. Who were the Border Reivers? The Reivers were inhabitants of the English/Scottish Borderlands; family groups – or graynes – who considered theft, kidnap, blackmail, murder and deadly blood-feud as all part of their day job. While the crown heads of England and Scotland were engaged in an endless bloody conflict over sovereignty, that reduced the borders to a virtual no-man’s-land, ordinary folk were effectively left to get by as best they could. And if that meant turning up on your neighbour’s doorstep, and beating the hell out of them, to take whatever little they possessed – up to and including their lives – then so be it! Reiving, as it was known, became a regional way of life for hundreds of years.   What’s my personal connection to the Reivers? Well, my mother’s family name is Kerr, and they originally hailed from the Scottish Borders. Let’s be blunt. The Kerrs were a notorious Reiver family back in the day! With blood-feud a speciality! If one fact about them particularly tickles me: uncommonly, the Kerrs were left-handed. It meant they fought with their swords in their left hand rather than the more usual right hand. Consequently, to help them defend their homes against their enemies they built the stairs to their tower houses with left-handed spirals. Raiders who fought their way into their homes would find the walls...

Publication Day: Jason LaPier’s UNCLEAR SKIES Feb25

Publication Day: Jason LaPier’s UNCLEAR SKIES...

Jason LaPier’s UNCLEAR SKIES is out today – this is Book Two in Jason’s incredible, darkly funny space opera THE DOME TRILOGY. He’s guest blogged for us today on what inspires him as he writes. Hello, there! I’m delighted to be able to show off a small part of my writing space today. This photo is the area right above my monitor, on the desk where I do much of my writing. Whenever I’m deep in thought, my eyes drift up to this magnetic pinboard, which has all kinds of bits of personal inspiration. If you’ll indulge me, I’d love to give you a quick tour!   Flyer of the cover of my debut novel, Unexpected Rain. I’m still head-over-heels for this image. Futurama postcards. Who doesn’t love Futurama? Space eye candy. Imayhave an obsession with astro-imagery. List of Common Rejections (notes from a writing workshop). These were so painful to learn that I crumbled them up, then later saw the value in them and flattened them back out and put them up. I’ll list them here for clarity:not connecting with character, predictable, lack of urgency, little market appeal, convoluted, not realistic. Ahhh! Don’t read them all in a row like that – you really have to space them out! But seriously, they are helpful reminders during the revision process. A card from when I was born, that says “We have a new tadpole in our frog pond.” My mom recently found this and gave it to me. I know I don’t call enough, Mom, but I still think about you all the time. Love letter from my wife. It was included in a care package she put together for me to take on a plane when I had to take a very difficult trip across the country...

Peter Newman on why he made one of his main characters a baby… Feb25

Peter Newman on why he made one of his main characters a baby…...

Happy publication to Peter Newman! The Vagrant is published today in paperback, ahead of his new book, The Malice, out in May. Here he talks about why he cast one of his main characters in The Vagrant as a tiny baby, and where that idea came from… The Vagrant recently had a five star review from Mark Lawrence (yay!). In it one of the things he said was: ‘Newman clearly knows a lot about babies. I suspect him to have been a new father at the time of writing!’ And this is true! When I started writing The Vagrant, I still had pretty clear memories of my own child, as well as lots of time spent in playgroups and kids parties. It struck me that babies are pretty rare in fantasy despite the fact that they are awesome! Too often, if there is a baby or child they are remarkable in some way, a reborn god or a freakishly intelligent being in a tiny body. These sorts of characters can be a lot of fun but I wanted a baby that was just a baby, nothing else. Why is this? Well, I felt there was so much mileage in having a baby in the book that I didn’t need to give it special powers. In the Vagrant, the baby serves several functions: Tension When you have a baby along for the ride everything gets harder. Keeping it warm, well fed and clean are just entry level issues. A baby has no concept of stealth, no understanding of when to speak up or stay quiet. It is entirely dependent on the mercy of the other characters. If a fight breaks out, where do you put the baby? Do you keep it close and risk it...

Read the first chapter of THE VAGRANT Feb24

Read the first chapter of THE VAGRANT...

Tomorrow, Peter Newman’s incredible epic fantasy THE VAGRANT, will be released in paperback. If you haven’t read it yet, now is your chance to start a brand new epic fantasy series. Read the first chapter below, or order your paperback right here. Starlight gives way to bolder neon. Signs muscle in on all sides, brightly welcoming each arrival to New Horizon. The Vagrant does not notice; his gaze fixes on the ground ahead. People litter the streets like living waste, their eyes as hollow as their laughter. Voices beg and hands grasp, needy, aggressive. The Vagrant does not notice and walks on, clasping his coat tightly at the neck. Excited shouts draw a crowd ahead. A mixture of halfbloods and pimps, dealers and spectators gather in force. Platforms rise up in the street, unsteady on legs of salvaged metal. Wire cages sit on top. Within, shivering forms squat, waiting to be sold. For some of the assembled, the flesh auction provides new slaves, for others, fresh meat. Unnoticed in the commotion, the Vagrant travels on. The centre of New Horizon is dominated by a vast scrap yard dubbed ‘The Iron Mountain’, a legacy from the war. At its heart is the gutted corpse of a fallen skyship; its cargo of tanks and fighters has spilled out in the crash, forming a skirt of scattered metal at the mountain’s base. Always opportunistic, the inhabitants of New Horizon have tunnelled out its insides to create living spaces and shops, selling on the sky-ship’s treasures. Scavenged lamps hang, colouring the shadows. Tne tunnel is illuminated by a glowing hoop, off-white and erratic. In the pale light, the low ceiling is the colour of curdled milk. Awkwardly, the Vagrant enters, bending his legs and bowing his head, his back held straight. Corrugated shelves line the walls, packed with bottles, tins and tubes. The owner of the...

Guest Post: Graeme K. Talboys on The Archaeology of Writing Feb03

Guest Post: Graeme K. Talboys on The Archaeology of Writing...

Our wonderful author Graeme K. Talboys’ paperback of STEALING INTO WINTER is available now and he’s written a guest blog for us on how he approaches writing. With a tale about a world built on top of the ruins of a mysterious ancient society, it’s fitting that archaeology plays a vital part in the writing of his Shadow in the Storm series… In common with many stories, the Shadow in the Storm sequence (which starts with Stealing into Winter) began a long time ago with very different characters in a story that evolved into Exile and Pilgrim (the forthcoming second book). Stories are like that, especially if you cannot immediately find the correct perspective from which to tell them. They haunt you like vivid dreams that, when you recall them, are full of potential but make no sense. In common with many writers, I do not ditch story ideas that I cannot resolve. I used to keep them on bits of paper in shoe boxes. Now they go into one of many files I keep on the computer in a folder titled ‘Possibles’. Every now and then, I read through these, add notes, see if things can be resolved a bit more, consider whether certain characters belong in a different story, and so on. It’s a pleasant way to spend a day – mug of coffee, good music, and a stroll through old ideas with a bit of tidying and tinkering thrown in for good measure. Sometimes, though, it becomes something else. All the elements, bar one, were there for Shadow in the Storm, just not gathered together in the same file. Characters, situations, events… all parts of a puzzle mixed in with other puzzles, just waiting for something that would allow me to pick them out and put them...

Publication Day: Graeme K. Talboys – Stealing into Winter Jan28

Publication Day: Graeme K. Talboys – Stealing into Winter...

Graeme K. Talboys’ Stealing into Winter is out now in paperback! This is a thrilling, epic adventure and it has an absolutely wonderful lead character, Jeniche, who is always in the right place at the right time – for anyone who needs a singular helping hand. A breathtaking tale of adventure, survival and loyalty. When the thief Jeniche finds her prison cell collapsing around her, she knows it is not going to be a good day. Certainly, the last thing she wanted once she escaped was to become involved with a group of monks and nuns being hunted by the Occassan soldiers who have invaded the city. Nor did she want to help the group flee by being their guide through the desert and mountains. Unfortunately, Jeniche’s skills are their only hope of making it out alive. But the soldiers are not the only danger waiting for them in the mountains… STEALING INTO WINTER is available here in paperback, and here in ebook format (the sequel, EXILE AND PILGRIM, is available for pre-order). You can follow the author on Twitter @graemeKtalboys and...

Guest blog: Tom Isbell on the end of the world Jan28

Guest blog: Tom Isbell on the end of the world...

What if something unspeakably terrible happened to the world? Extreme drought and famine? A rise in terrorism? A nuclear war? How would the survivors react? This is the idea that struck me five and a half years ago when I first thought of The Prey. And it reminded me of something from the past. Do you know the organization, the White Rose? Back when the Nazis were taking power, a group of German teenagers and young college students formed a non-violent organization to oppose the atrocities that were happening in their country. Although the obstacles facing them were insurmountable, and they faced certain death, they wrote and passed out leaflets, they left graffiti on the walls, they created an awareness of what was happening all around them. As they said in one of their leaflets, the people under the Nazi regime “slumbered on in dull, stupid sleep and encouraged the fascist criminals.” On the one hand, this is surprising. One of the most potent anti-Nazi groups was run and organized >100 be kept in not. They it any loves I use of cialis after prostate surgery others dryer you that purchased but and is generic cialis legal in canada always concerns finger-comb Mane’n’Tail. It thing? Product trip. As cheap viagra canada free shipping satisfied as salon. So skin Beauty scent. Nice care purchase viagra from canada look special price, give. The long. It a your much pharmacy technician test tights side a I antiseptic wear my just. by teens! But on the other hand, it’s always been the young people to say it like it is. Think of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”; it was the young boy who told the truth. In my country alone, over 23% of the population is...

Guest post: A.F.E. Smith on the Power of Names Jan28

Guest post: A.F.E. Smith on the Power of Names...

It’s the paperback publication day for A.F.E. Smith’s fantasy-meets-murder-mystery DARKHAVEN, the first book in her Darkhaven Novels sequence. A fearsome (and awesome) ruling family of shapeshifters deserves a name that’s as complex and badass as they are – but why does ‘Nightshade’ work do the job so perfectly?   Many fantasy writers, Ursula Le Guin chief among them, have impressed upon us the importance of names. Names have power. They have meaning and resonance. That bit in A Wizard of Earthsea where Ged confronts Yevaud and binds him with his name still sends a shiver down my spine. I learned many things from Earthsea, and one of them is that on occasion, knowing the true name of something is all that stands between you and being chomped by a furious dragon. There’s a reason why fantasy writers take the naming of their characters very seriously. Having said that, I’m not going to lie: I mainly choose my own characters’ names on the grounds that I like the sound of them. I invent them on the spot. I pull them out of thin air. I pick out a name that conveys some key quality belonging to that character. Either that, or someone has drastically offended me and so I take the opportunity to put their namesake in a book for the sole purpose of killing them off. (Just kidding … probably.) But every so often, I make the effort to give my characters’ names a deeper meaning. My Darkhaven ruling family, the Nightshades, are one such case. Nightshade, of course, conveys the impression of something dark and more than a little dangerous. When you say Nightshade, what springs to mind for a lot of people is Deadly. And indeed, deadly nightshade deserves its name: eating just a handful of its berries...

Calling all Peter V. Brett fans! Jan28

Calling all Peter V. Brett fans!...

HarperVoyager UK are thrilled to announce the first ever Demon Cycle Day, celebrating the writing of Peter V. Brett. Tell us why you love Peter V. Brett so much, and we will send you two copies of the first book in The Demon Cycle series. Then, on World Brett Night on 8th February (which also happens to be Peat’s birthday!), we want you to give those copies away to anyone you think will love his vivid world of darkness, demons and heroes. On the day, we want to make as much noise as we can, and get everyone reading this incredible fantasy series! Share photos of your prize copies when they arrive in the post, tell us who you’re going to give them to, share their reactions, encourage them to post photos on Twitter and Instagram – we want you to share your love for The Painted Man as much as you can. Want to show us your cosplay? Awesome! We want to see it! The hashtag is #DemonCycleDay – let’s get it trending! Unfortunately this giveaway is limited to UK entries only, although once prize copies have been received, winners are free to post them anywhere in the world. And if you still want to tell us why you love Peat so much, we are always keen to hear from his fans. Register your interest right here. Applications close on 3rd of February, so there’s no time to lose! Want to read about the terms and conditions for the giveaway? Here you...

Cover reveal: Francesca Haig’s The Map of Bones Jan27

Cover reveal: Francesca Haig’s The Map of Bones...

**Cover reveal klaxon!** Even the ashes of the past cannot hide the truth forever… The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding. The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun. But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice. Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for. As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before. Francesca Haig’s The Map of Bones is coming 7th April! http://bit.ly/mapofbones...

Read the start of The Skull Throne Jan25

Read the start of The Skull Throne...

Prologue No Victor 333 AR Autumn ‘No!’ Inevera reached out, clutching empty air as the Par’chin pitched himself and her husband over the cliff. Taking with them all the hope of the human race. On the opposite side of the circle of combat, Leesha Paper let out a similar cry. The strict ritual laws of Domin Sharum were forgotten as witnesses from both sides rushed to the precipice, crowding together to peer into the darkness that had swallowed the combatants. In Everam’s light, Inevera could see as clearly in darkness as brightest day, the world defined by magic’s glow. But magic was drawn to life, and there was little below save barren rock and dirt. The two  men, glowing as fiercely as the sun a moment ago, had vanished into the dull gloom of ambient magic as it vented to the surface. Inevera twisted her earring, the hora stone within attuned to its mate on her husband’s ear, but she heard nothing. It could be out of range, or broken in the fall. Or there might be nothing to hear. She suppressed a shiver as a chill mountain wind blew over her. She glanced at the others clustered at the edge, reading their expressions, searching for a hint of betrayal, a sign one of them had known this was coming. She read the magic that emanated from them, as well. The circlet of warded electrum coins she wore did not let her read spirits as fluidly as her husband did with the Crown of Kaji, but she was getting more and more skilled at reading emotions. Shock was clear throughout the group. There were variations from one to another, but this was not the outcome any of them had expected. Even Abban, the smug liar,...

The enduring appeal of superheroes and supervillains Jan15

The enduring appeal of superheroes and supervillains...

Today we are kicking off a blog tour for guest author Erica Hayes. Erica’s latest book, Scarred, is out this week and published by our friends and colleagues at HarperImpulse.  Hi everyone! I’m Erica, and it’s lovely to meet you. Let’s talk about superheroes. See, I write superhero novels and I love it – are you a superhero fan? They’re pretty popular lately on TV and in the movies. The Marvel sequence of movies has done huge business at the box office. Great action sequences, sure, with cool effects and witty dialogue. But most of all: compelling characters. How things have changed, right? When I was a kid, action films didn’t have characters. They had Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now don’t get me wrong: I adore Arnie and JCVD. I can still quote from these movies. (Just an aside: JCVD’s beer commercials are hysterical. If you’re a fan, you’ve gotta check ’em out.) Anyhoo. These movies were the backdrop to my wild university days (heh! maybe not so wild…) The Cold War was only just ending. We still knew who our enemies were, and the bastards deserved no mercy. Our action heroes were tough, cool, sexy (in an alpha-beefcake, me-man-you-woman kind of way) and exciting. So what if they never reloaded their guns? We didn’t really care whose ass they kicked, so long as ass-kicking happened. But compare John Matrix (Arnie’s beefcake special forces character in Commando) to, say, the movie version of Iron Man. Matrix has little backstory and fewer flaws, unless you count ultra-violence and bad one-liners. He’s a ruthless machine with His Own Brand of Justice™, and his enemies are faceless cannon fodder. He has an archenemy, sure, who’s the Dark Version of Himself Who Must Be Defeated – his...

Guest Post: What’s Worse – Mercy or Retribution? Jan14

Guest Post: What’s Worse – Mercy or Retribution?...

Book Two of The Darkhaven Novels, GOLDENFIRE, is out today! This is fantasy with a side of ‘whodunit’ (or in the case of GOLDENFIRE – who WILL do it); it’s about a ruling family of shapeshifters and what happens when a terrible threat is made to their lives. Our lovely author A.F.E. Smith has done a guest post for us on writing around powerful themes. A very wise person, who may or may not be my editor, once observed to me that two of the key themes of Darkhaven are innocence and guilt. Which is manifestly true, although I didn’t set out to write to a theme; when you’re writing a story about a person who is wrongfully accused of murder, the themes tend to look after themselves. Still, it got me thinking about my sequel, Goldenfire – and it turned out that Goldenfire has themes, too, though equally unintentional. The themes are mercy and retribution. Of course, that basically means that Goldenfire is about justice. Balancing mercy and retribution is what justice is all about. Depending on your point of view, you might lean more towards one or the other, but it’s hard to get away from those two fundamental ingredients when thinking about what justice actually means. I say near the start of the book that an overlord of Darkhaven, who of course has the ability to shapeshift into the form of a powerful creature, possesses a human side for mercy and a creature side for retribution. And it’s the balance between the two that my lead character Ayla has to deal with in a literal sense, and that many of the characters have to grapple with metaphorically over the course of the novel. A side issue to this, which also features prominently in the book, is that of revenge – pure...

Cover Reveal: Jason LaPier’s UNCLEAR SKIES Jan14

Cover Reveal: Jason LaPier’s UNCLEAR SKIES...

  UNCLEAR SKIES is the second title in Jason LaPier’s The Dome Trilogy, the space opera with a deliciously dark sense of humour. This incredible cover has been designed by the superbly talented Dom Forbes here at HarperCollins, and we love the industrial grittiness of it. Justice isn’t what it used to be Rogue cop Stanford Runstom blew open a botched murder case and was given a promotion – of sorts. But doing PR work for ModPol, the security-firm-for-hire, is not the detective position Runstom had in mind, particularly when his orders become questionable. Freedom always comes at a price Despite being cleared of false murder charges, Jax is still a fugitive from justice. When ModPol catches up with him, keeping his freedom now means staying alive at any cost, even if that means joining Space Waste, the notorious criminal gang. Security can be deadly When ModPol and Space Waste go head to head, old friends Runstom and Jax find themselves caught between two bloodthirsty armies, and this time they might not escape with their lives.   Here’s what people have been saying about book one in the trilogy, UNEXPECTED RAIN: ‘An unexpectedly unique, science fiction, mystery … strong character development in this solid debut … the engaging plot kept me pulled in to the very end’ – SciFiChick.com ‘I really enjoyed Unexpected Rain. I like the world LaPier has created and think there is a lot of potential for more stories in his universe’ – Invested Ivana, One Book Two (OneBookTwo.com ‘This noble offering by a new voice pays homage in storytelling to past masters by doing what they did best: Having fun AND danger without getting bogged down by HARD SF rules. LaPier turns in a modern buddy romp in the Classic SF...

Behind the Cover: Jason Gurley’s ELEANOR Jan12

Behind the Cover: Jason Gurley’s ELEANOR...

Today marks the ebook publication day of Jason Gurley‘s remarkable ELEANOR, a story of familial ties, and bonds that are so strong, they reach into other worlds… Out in glorious hardback in March, HarperVoyager Designer Mike Topping here tells us about the process of designing the stunning colour (and shows us, via the power of GIFs)… Jason Gurley’s remarkable book exists, like its protagonist, in the liminal space between worlds; like much of Stephen King’s work, its setting is a richly-textured reality (geographic, temporal and emotional) into which elements of fantasy intrude and against which they are made all the more vivid. This balance of the worldly and the other-worldly was, along with a strong sense of character, the main idea the cover needed to convey. After exploring a few different routes I hit upon the idea of a double exposure; the uncanny collision of worlds that happens when two photographs are taken on the same frame offered a compelling solution. The purist part of me would have loved to capture an authentic, in-camera double exposure. Funds for casting and location shooting being sadly unavailable, Plan B called for picture research and some experimentation in Photoshop. Finding the right Eleanor was key – we needed an image that conveyed a real sense of character, without imposing a particular look on the reader. A close-up of a young woman (© Eva Creel / Arcangel Images), swathed in wet hair, with eyes closed had the right combination of the intimate and the mysterious. Although very striking in black and white, the book needed the warmth of colour, so adding that was the first task. Then to create the double exposure effect. I tried overlaying some landscape shots but nothing quite worked in the way I was...