Author Blog Tour Guest Post: David Wellington, Author of Positive

Welcome to the second part of the Working for the Mandroid stop on David Wellington's blog tour for his epic zombie adventure story Positive. This tour is hosted by Pump Up Your Book tours. Earlier we had a review of Positive and now the author himself has stopped by to discuss post-apocalyptic stories. If you're into zombie fiction and are looking for a book with a young, naive teen boy narrator suddenly thrust into a wild and unfamiliar world with danger around every corner, Positive could be the book for you! Let's here from David.

               Aren’t you a little sick of post-apocalypse stories? I know I am. Oh, I’m a big fan of mutant-haunted wastelands, going way back. In the ‘80s, when I was young, we were terrified of nuclear war. Yet our stories about what happened afterward, after the bombs dropped, were strangely hopeful. In the desert you could start over again. The shackles of modern civilization would be gone, all the expectations of a post-industrial society. No more punching the clock—your new job would be fighting off the fifty-foot tall grasshoppers who threatened your town. No more waiting in line at the DMV. No need for a license on the empty highways of the badlands. You would get to start a whole new life, and look like a badass all the time. You’d have a great atom tan and there seemed to be no shortage of hair care product, if the movies were anything to go by.

               But then the nuclear war just… never happened. Today’s fears of the apocalypse are different, more scientifically grounded, perhaps. Maybe just more nebulous. What will your life look like after climate change reshapes the planet? In case of an economic collapse, how much gold do you need to have stored in your bunker? And as our fears grew more diffuse, our apocalypse fiction grew steadily more grim and horrible. Life after The End just doesn’t seem as appealing as it used to. Oh, sure, no matter how bad things get, some plucky teenager might come along and save the day. Maybe. Or maybe the future is just going to suck, and we need to all accept that.

David Wellington on his Post-Apocalyptic Novel Positive

               I’ve written seventeen novels, now. My very first published novel, Monster Island, was about what New York City would look like after a zombie rising. It was grim, let me tell you. Gritty. Nobody had a good time in that book (except, hopefully, the reader). That was back in 2003. I was obsessed with zombies in 2003. Over the years I’ve watched countless movies about zombies and the apocalypse, though, and they’ve just started to depress me. You know? It just seems like things would go from bad to worse, and there was no hope for anybody. Worse—far worse—I’ve seen the people around me, especially the younger generation, start to think that the apocalypse is inevitable. That the year 2000 was the high water mark of civilization, and it’s all downhill from there.

               Which is why I needed to write my latest book, Positive, which just came out in paperback. I needed to write a book that was both post-apocalyptic… and hopeful.

               Is such a thing even possible? Finn, the main character of my book, is living in a pretty nasty world. Twenty years ago a virus raced through the population, causing some to turn into mindless, incredibly aggressive zombies. The worst part about the disease was that it could take twenty years to incubate. You could have this thing in your brain, growing and festering in secret, for two decades—and not even know it. Just one day you would go crazy and attack everyone around you. Of course, society’s response to this turned out to be even worse than the disease. Anyone even potentially infected is branded as a Positive, given a plus-sign tattoo on their left hand and shunned by society. Which is exactly what happens to Finn. He could be a zombie.

               Yet Positive is not really a zombie novel.

               Finn is forced out into the wilderness. A suburbia overrun by looter gangs and deadly road pirates. Think Mad Max but set in a world of crumbling row houses and strip malls. A world where you can be killed at any time for your canned food, your gasoline, even just for the shoes on your feet.

               Yet Positive is not a road pirate novel.

               As Finn ventures west, looking for some kind of security, some kind of salvation, he encounters a city that has fallen back into a primitive state. He finds a medical camp that is twenty different kinds of hell. Eventually he runs afoul of a death cult, which offers protection in exchange for human sacrifice.

               Yet Positive is… well, you get the drill.

               No, Positive isn’t about those things (or at least, not just about those things). It’s the story of somebody who can make his way in that world… and know there should be something better. That there can be something better, if we all pitch in.

               Positive is about the moment after the end of the world. The moment when the dust has settled, when the bodies have been buried. And about what happens next. In my early zombie novels, I had a number of characters ask the same question: What do you do the day after the world ends? Finn is finally the character who can answer that question.

               It’s simple, really. You rebuild. You gather together people who you can trust. People who get your vision. You sift through the rubble—but rather than just scrounging for tin cans, you look for the tools and the people who can make a whole new world.

               Positive is post-apocalypse fiction, sure. I also like to call it pre-renaissance fiction. It’s about what to do when there’s nothing left. It’s about finding hope in a place where hope has died.

               It’s also a ton of fun. Fast-paced, full of action and suspense and a love story for a damaged—but not quite defunct—age. I hope you’ll give it a look.

Positive
David Wellington

Harper Voyager
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a honest review.
Released April 21, 2015
448 pages
Thriller / Suspense

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

The acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining, page-turning zombie epic.
Anyone can be positive . . .
Years after a plague killed 99 percent of the population, turning them into infectious zombies, Finnegan and his family live in a barricaded New York City. But Finn's sheltered life fractures when his unsuspecting mother falls sick with the zombie disease—latent inside her since before her son's birth.
Finn, too, can be infected. If he remains healthy for the last two years of the potential incubation period, he'll be cleared. Until then, he must be moved to a special facility for positives, segregated to keep the healthy population safe.
Tattooed with a plus sign on his hand that marks him as a positive, Finn is exiled from the city. But when marauders kill the escort sent to transport him, Finn must learn how to survive alone in an eerie, disintegrated landscape. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger is his fellow humans.

About the Author:

David Wellington was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where George Romero’s classic zombie films were shot. He is the author of an online zombie serial, the Monster Island trilogy; Thirteen Bullets, a serialized vampire novel; and the Jim Chapel missions, including the digital shorts “Minotaur” and “Myrmidon,” and the novels Chimera and The Hydra Protocol. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

For More Information

Visit David’s website.

Connect with David on Facebook and Twitter

Author Blog Tour Guest Post & Contest: Viola Carr, The Devious Dr. Jekyll

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Viola Carr's author blog tour for The Devious Dr. Jekyll, hosted by Pump Up Your Book tours. Viola has stopped by to discuss steampunk, anachronism and Victorian-era CSIs as well as give away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader of the tour. The Devious Dr. Jekyll is a fun take on the classic Jekyll and Hyde tail starring a female protagonist in a steampunk version of Victorian England. Take it away, Viola!

Steampunk, Anachronism and Victorian-era CSIs

A cool aspect of steampunk (and its many derivatives) is anachronism. It’s alternate history – you can mess with the timeline. Move historical figures and events around, kill someone off or pretend that an important event from 'real history' never happened. Take what you want, and discard the rest.

I love steampunk, and the Victorian era, but I'm only an amateur historian. For me, so long as the writer gets the sense of the period authentic, they can add in whatever they like – zombies, clockwork people, steam-powered airships – and I'll buy into it.

My Electric Empire series centers on Dr. Eliza Jekyll – yes, the daughter of that Jekyll – whom I've invented and transported to the mid-Victorian-era, as a physician and crime scene investigator. Cool, eh? She's a combination of detective, forensic specialist and mad scientist. CSI: Jekyll & Hyde.

Never mind that, in the real 1850s, there was no such thing as a CSI. I've had to alter history quite a bit, in subtle ways.

Firstly, the physicians of the day were notoriously standoffish about getting their hands dirty – as opposed to surgeons, whom physicians sneered at as mere artisans, little better than butchers. Physicians would be more likely to confine themselves to laboratory testing for poisons or illnesses, which more often than not, they got wrong. So the idea of my physician attending a dirty crime scene in person is ahead of its time.

Oh, and qualified female physicians? No such thing in England until 1865, when a formidable lady named Elizabeth Garrett Anderson bullied her way in through the back door, fighting a hostile College of Physicians every step of the way. But never mind. This is steampunk!

I also had to deal with the fact that in the 'real' 1850s, crime scene investigation as we know it today – searching for trace evidence at the scene – hadn't been invented yet. By modern standards, it was appallingly easy to get away with murder.

Locard's Exchange Principle – the now-common concept that 'every contact leaves a trace' – hadn't yet been formulated. And even if it had been, contemporary science was woefully inadequate to the task. There was as yet no test to prove that a stain was blood, or that it was human and not animal. Poisons such as strychnine were undetectable. Of course, no one had ever heard of DNA, or even blood typing.

Autopsies were done on the spot, in poor light and filth, by inexpert people. And much of the common medico-legal wisdom – such as the idea that a murder victim's retina preserved an image of the killer's face, or that if a dead infant's lungs floated in water, it indicated breathing and therefore infanticide rather than stillbirth – were just plain wrong.

On top of that, police procedure was dodgy, too. Crime scenes were routinely contaminated by curious passers-by, who were encouraged to view the gruesome scenes for entertainment. Crucial evidence was lost, misidentified or ignored because no one knew any better. And identifying suspects properly was impossible, without fingerprinting or a proper filing system for photographic records.

With all these limitations, a real Victorian CSI wasn't left with much to do! Luckily, steampunk and weird science have come to my rescue. Eliza Jekyll has all manner of improbable gadgets: portable electric lights, bottles of special solution, an array of fantastic lenses and sensors that perform feats of detection that are scientifically impossible without a little magic. She reaches conclusions about crime scene evidence that her real-world contemporaries could not.

But hey, it's steampunk! We can suspend a little disbelief here. And in a world where Dr. Jekyll's potion is real and actually works, sinister brass automatons stalk the streets, and the electric underground train has been invented forty years before its time… well, it'd be stranger if forensics didn't happen.

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The Devious Dr. Jekyll
Viola Carr

Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Steampunk
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Audible 

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Dr. Eliza Jekyll, heroine of the electrifying The Diabolical Miss Hyde—an edgy steampunk retelling of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—investigates a bizarre murder case in an alternate Victorian London while battling her treacherous secret half: Lizzie Hyde.
Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.
It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness—or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive.
As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

About the Author:

Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She loves history, and pops down to London’s many historical sites whenever she gets the chance.  She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist. Readers can follow her on twitter at @viola_carr  and online at http://www.violacarr.com.

For More Information
Visit Viola’s website.
Connect with Viola on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

 

Visit Other Stops on The Devious Dr. Jekyll Tour!

 October 26

Guest blogging at Tez Says

Book featured at 3 Partners in Sh0pping

 

October 27

Book featured at What is That Book About

Book featured at Teatime and Books

 

October 28

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

Book featured at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

 

October 29

Interviewed at The Cosy Dragon

Book featured at Kristy Centeno

 

October 30

Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

Guest blogging at The Romantic World of Leigh Anderson

 

November 2

Book featured at Mikky’s World of Books

Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews

 

November 3

Book featured at Kayl’s Crazy Obsession

Guest blogging at Working for the Mandroid

 

November 4

Book featured at Around the World in Books

Book featured at Lisa’s Louisiana Home

 

November 5

Book featured at Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions

Book featured at Curling Up by the Fire

 

November 6

Book featured at Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

 

November 8

Book reviewed at Rhi Reading

 

November 9

Guest blogging at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Book reviewed at Doing Some Reading

 

November 10

Book reviewed at Here’s to Happy Endings

Book reviewed at Words I Write Crazy

 

November 11

Book reviewed at Book Him Danno

Book reviewed at Worth Getting in Bed For

 

November 12

Book featured at Chosen By you Book Club

Interviewed at Urban Fantasy Investigations

Book reviewed at Reader Girls

 

November 13

Book featured at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

Book reviewed at Moonlight Rendezvous

Book featured at Dawn’s Reading Nook

Author Guest Post: Worldbuilding Magic University by Cecilia Tan

Working for the Mandroid is happy to welcome Cecilia Tan, author of the sexy fantasy Magic University series. The fourth and final book in the series, Poet and the Prophecy, just came out this past Tuesday. We're happy to welcome Cecilia to the blog to discuss the world building that went into the series as it comes to a conclusion. Take it away, Cecilia!

Back to School: Worldbuilding Magic University

by Cecilia Tan

Worldbuilding is fun, no doubt about it. I love creating magic systems and societies for my novels, and part of me hearkens back to my days as a teenage dungeonmaster, creating places and surprises for old Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. While writing the Magic University books, though, I had some interesting challenges in creating a magical college campus.

For one thing, I had to create the curriculum. What would the courses of study be at Veritas? In the books themselves I end up naming about a dozen departments, including alchemy, ritual arts, conjuration, and metaphysics. "Esoteric arts" is the name given to the study of sex magic because just calling it sex magic was too much for the founders of Harvard.

Yes, Harvard--my magical university is a part of Harvard, existing as a school within a school, with its own deans and degree programs. This meant my worldbuilding got to include a lot of funky facts about Harvard, like the fact that Lowell House rents out their dining hall to other houses (including magical ones) for parties and functions.

In fact I borrowed the Harvard house system to make four magical houses. Yes, that's also a direct nod to J.K .Rowling's Harry Potter series, but I also ended up with four because the "sorting" is done with tarot cards, and which suit you pull determines which house you end up in. Kyle draws the Ace of Swords which lands him in Gladius House. The fact that the sorting is basically random, despite each house having a "character," was also a commentary by me on the flaws of Hogwarts-style sorting based on personality traits. If you want, you can believe that a card draw is "fate," but really, it's just a one-in-four chance, ensuring even distribution over time.

I tried to be as consistent as possible within my magic system, but given that this is a university setting I left room for there to be debate about how certain parts of magic works, the same way scientists or economists or historians sit around and debate their subjects with each other. Also like with non-magical subjects, some classes require lab work, some tests, some term papers, and some subjects are easier than others.

Just like in any university, some of the degree programs have prerequisites or placement tests. To join the Department of Esoteric Arts, scholars have to prove they're bisexual, since ritual sex with partners of any gender might be required. At first Kyle isn't sure he can pass all of the tests to get into Esoteric Arts but it's really not a spoiler to tell you that he has what it takes to pass with flying colors. (In fact, he gets good at flying, too.) It is somewhat inconvenient when he has to practice to do his sex magic homework, though, and his roommate never goes out...

One of the subplots that runs through the books is that the departments of Applied Enchantment and Conjuration are being merged into one, something that happens in real-life universities around here (in the Boston area) all the time, wreaking havoc on the faculty and students. In the end Kyle may be able to save the world, but nothing can save the university administration from budget cuts!

The Poet & The Prophecy (Magic University #4)
Cecilia Tan

Ravenous Romance
Released September 22, 2015
318 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kyle Wadsworth has mastered sex magic, dreamwalking, his bisexuality, and even poetry in his years at Veritas. But in this conclusion to the Magic University series of new adult paranormal fantasy romance, Kyle begins his senior year full of doubt. Will the dire ancient prophecy he has been studying come true if Kyle cannot find true love? The signs of the Burning Days seem to be everywhere—odd storms, earthquakes, and people losing their magic—and though Kyle has many loving friends and eager acquaintances, he has no true love in sight. The only person in Kyle's heart is Frost, and the last time they laid eyes on each other, it didn't end well.

Frost has a troubled past and deep secrets. Kyle begins to hope, though, when it appears he and Frost will be in a class together. A poetry class. Maybe Frost will start to thaw after all, though Kyle has a long way to go from nemesis to lover. If the prophecy speaks true, our hero will need love to keep the world, his friends, and himself from losing magic forever.

About the Author:

Cecilia Tan is "simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature," according to Susie Bright. RT Magazine awarded her Career Achievement in Erotic Romance in 2015 and their prestigious Pioneer Award. Tan's BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) also won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats. 

Website | Twitter

Guest Post: Science Fiction & Science by S.H. Jucha

Today we have a special visit from science fiction writer S.H. Jucha. He is the author of The Silver Ships, and enjoys discussing all things science fiction and space related. He stopped by Working for the Mandroid today to discuss a little bit about the connection between science fiction and science fact.

Science Fiction and Science
By SH Jucha

Historically, fiction writers have been the harbingers of our future science. You need look no further than the incomparable Isaac Asimov, a master of hard science fiction, who detailed robotics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration more than sixty years ago. Robert A. Heinlein anticipated the cell phone in his book, Space Cadet, thirty-five years before the technology was invented by Motorola, and Arthur C. Clarke, often called the “Prophet of the Space Age,” proposed a satellite communication system in 1945.

However, in the 21st century, science has been stealing the headlines away from science fiction. New Horizons sent us images of Pluto and its moons—Charon, Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos. Philae landed on a comet, and NASA's Kepler spacecraft has identified another near-Earth planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star.

Two more significant scientific endeavors are set to unfold in the near future. The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to be launched in 2018 into an orbit around the sun. It will be able to view events 200 to 300 million years after the Big Bang. Over the remainder of this decade and the next, the “Mars One” mission plans to establish a human settlement on Mars.

In addition to hard science prognostications, fiction writers have long envisioned mankind’s future encounters with aliens and have portrayed sentient life in a myriad of ways from war-faring empires to symbionts, who ride a human’s brain, to artificial intelligences, which have left their creators behind. Recently, science has been catching up with fiction writers on the subject of life in outer space.

Investigations of carbon-rich meteorites have found evidence of life apart from that of Earth. Amino acids, which are the essential building blocks of life, have been discovered on meteorites. Most telling is that the amino acids were created in both low-level and high-level temperatures.

If you follow the numbers—billions of galaxies and up to 300 billion stars per galaxy—astronomers estimate that there are about 70 billion trillion stars. In our short investigative period, we’ve already discovered 4,696 exoplanets, creating an enormous potential for life. Maybe the science fiction writers have been right about the possibilities of aliens.

While we dream of space exploration far into the future, I would like to express my hopes for the near future, events that might take place in the next few decades. I see incredible potential for space exploration, especially long-term space habitation, which may provide solutions for many of Earth’s critical problems.

Self-sufficient space habitats will require alternative methods of recycling of many material categories. It will be too expensive to ship trash back to Earth. One category, petrochemical products, includes plastics, which are quite durable and slow to degrade, but there are examples of micro-organisms accelerating the degradation processes. Imagine the value of developing bio-engineered bacterium, fungi, yeasts, algae, and lichens to completely recycle plastics. It would be a win-win for space habitation and humankind if scientists perfected solutions which could efficiently breakdown plastics, especially the billions of tons of discarded plastics on Earth, into environmentally friendly compounds.

Science fiction writers continue to envision a variety of futures for the human race, but it will be the duty of science to bring one of them to fruition.

 

S. H. Jucha is the author of the science fiction series, The Silver Ships. For more information, about the author, visit his website at http://scottjucha.com. His books are available on Amazon in several formats.

The Silver Ships
SH Jucha

See more on Goodreads

An explorer-tug captain, Alex Racine detects a damaged alien craft drifting into the system. Recognizing a once in a lifetime opportunity to make first contact, Alex pulls off a daring maneuver to latch on to the derelict.

Alex discovers the ship was attacked by an unknown craft, the first of its kind ever encountered. The mysterious silver ship's attack was both instant and deadly.

What enfolds is a story of the descendants of two Earth colony ships, with very different histories, meeting 700 years after their founding and uniting to defend humanity from the silver ships.
 

Author Blog Tour Guest Post & Review: In Midnight's Silence by T. Frohock

Wecome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on T. Frohock's blog tour for In Midnight's Silence, the first in her Los Nefilim series! If this novella about angels and daimons on the verge of Civil War in early 20th century Spain sounds like your time of book, it's currently available for Kindle and Nook for just 99 cents!! It would make for a great summer beach read!

I asked T. why she choose to set her Los Nefilim series in early 20th century Spain, and she provided this lovely guest post to explain some of the historical background that inspired her story. Take it away T.!

Researching Spain and the Spanish Civil War

I’ve been getting this question a lot, and I really appreciate the opportunity to get all my various thoughts in one spot.

Why Spain?

The answer is really easy. Generally, when I write a novel, the characters come to me before the story. I had an idea for a character named Guillermo, who was Spanish. The novel was set in 1348 in Aragon. I didn’t realize at the time how much research I would have to do in order to familiarize myself with Spain, but it really turned into a wonderful experience.

The reason I chose to set that first novel on the Iberian Peninsula had to do with another storyline that I’d developed for the book. The characters were Nephilim (Nefilim in Spanish, hence the series name), and they reincarnate with the memories of their past lives intact. This particular group was in Jerusalem during their firstborn lives. When the Romans conquered what is today Israel, and instigated the diaspora, some Jews fled to the Iberian Peninsula. Since people migrated in that direction, I wondered if maybe souls would, too.

I had intended for that novel to be the beginning of a series, and I wanted to bring those characters up through the Spanish Civil War. However, other projects took precedence, so for a while I forgot about Guillermo, Diago, and Miquel along with their entwined stories. Meanwhile, the seeds for Los Nefilim were there, germinating while I worked on other projects.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that novel didn’t sell. I went on to write other things, but I never forgot the characters or their stories. Last year, I was asked to write a novella, and since the original story was in limbo, I talked with my agent about resurrecting the characters in a new story for the sake of the novella.

I never considered changing their nationality. By this time, these characters were Spanish in my mind. I also wanted a more modern setting, and changed the protagonist from Guillermo to Diago.

I have a strong background in World War II history, and initially started to place the story in that time period; however, it seemed kind of ridiculous to thrust them into World War II when, being Spanish, they were much more likely to be involved in the Spanish Civil War. Guillermo del Toro's exquisite Pan's Labyrinth really intrigued me, because he managed to capture the brutality of the period without losing the beauty and magic of the Spanish people and the country. After Pan’s Labyrinth, I watched The Devil’s Backbone, which was another film by del Toro, also set during the Spanish Civil War.

I got my hands on several histories of the Spanish Civil War and began to research the period just prior to and during the war. I set the story in Barcelona, because the city is old and has such a spooky history. Ghosts and vampires and poltergeists haunt the city, so I figured what were a few more Nefilim, angels, and daimons? The powerful religious history of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain just fit the world that I’d built for my Nefilim and their magic.

I used several histories in order to reconstruct the time period. If you’re interested in reading more about Spain and the Spanish Civil War, here a few:

The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor

The Franco Years by Jose Yglesias

The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic: A Witness to the Spanish Civil War by Henry Buckley

Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (second edition) edited by Olivia Remie Constable

Queer Iberia: Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance edited by Josiah Blackmore and Gregory S. Hutcheson

The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge by Paul Preston

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth Century Spain by Paul Preston

About T. Frohock

Web site: http://www.tfrohock.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/T_Frohock

BIO: T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight's Silence.

T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

In Midnight’s Silence
T. Frohock

Harper Voyager Impulse
I received a copy of this novella from the publisher in return for being on the blog tour
Released June 23, 2015
128 pages
Fantasy / Novella / Angels

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…
Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can't get to him directly, they do the one thing he's always feared.
They go after Miquel.
Now, in order to save his lover's life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world's next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.
A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock's In Midnight's Silence shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he'll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.

T. Frohock’s world of In Midnight’s Silence is one hiding a dark underbelly where daimons and angels fight for control and power. At the start it feels familiar and like the real world, so it becomes jarring when suddenly a deep mythology becomes hinted at and characters’ histories are alluded to in passing references. For awhile I honestly believed I’d picked up the series in the middle and had to continue to reassure myself that In Midnight’s Silence was the beginning. There just seemed like so much had happened before that I wasn’t privy to that I should already know.

Diago was born from a daimon and an angel, and refuses to pledge to anyone side of the battle looming over early 20th century Spain. He lives and loves a Nephilim named Miquel, who fights on the side of angels, but mostly they live in a small apartment in Barcelona and work their jobs as a music teacher and a guitar player. That is until an angel kidnaps Miquel in order to blackmail Diago to do a deadly errand for him.

Diago’s world is one where supernatural beings have magical powers, primarily through music. This was a unique take on magic with characters humming, whistling and singing to fight their enemies. It produces an interesting imagery and allows for those on the same side to create harmonious music as their fight battles. I really enjoyed the idea of music and tones as magic, though there isn’t really much explanation on how things work. It just creates a mysterious, often dark undertone to what could have otherwise been unexplained and basic magic.

Diago is a conflicted figure, happy in his life though caught in the middle of a bigger picture. When he discovers a son he never knew he had, he becomes more conflicted, but also becomes a more heroic figure. Miquel is less formed, seen only as the lover to fight for and not so much as a character of his own, but in a 128 page novella, it’s difficult to truly fill out the secondary characters.

In Midnight’s Silence gives a glimpse to a much larger world that deserves a much larger book. This felt like a promotional prequel to something bigger coming out. The world is dark and intriguing with shadows of darkness everywhere ready to pounce on our heroes. The magic system provides an atmospheric nature to a short story that made me want more. This is an interesting introduction to a new take on angels and demons fighting for the fate of the world.

I received a copy of this novella from the publisher for being on the tour. All opinions are my own.

Mr

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Emmy Laybourne's blog tour for her newest novel, Sweet! We're excited to have Emmy at the blog today discussing her cruise boat horror novel. Having been on cruises before, this has been a particularly interesting read even if it might give me the hibbie jibbies every now and again. If you're interested in Sweet, stick around to the end of the post where Emmy is giving one lucky Working for the Mandroid reader a chance to win a copy of her latest book.

 

I have a dilemma here. I could easily spend this whole blog post talking about how much I like the name WorkingForTheMandroid. It made me laugh, and when you’re working on a blog tour - that is a rare treat! So thank you, Leslie, Fernando and Mandroid, wherever you are.

I’m here to talk to you about my new book Sweet. It tells the story of the product launch of a new diet sweetener called Solu which turns out to be highly addictive. The high-profile, celebrity-studded launch takes place on a week-long luxury cruise. Laurel and Tom, two teens who, for very different reasons, are NOT taking the sweetener, find themselves out at sea amidst five hundred B-list celebrities, reality TV stars and wealthy playboys who become increasingly desperate and depraved, willing to do anything to get more Solu.

Because Sweet crosses a couple of genres (Romance! Action! Horror!) and deals with some surprising issues (Body acceptance! Addiction! Celebrity!), I’ve decided to have 5 special blog posts on this tour, talking about the way Sweet plays within each type.

Today we’re going to talk about the horror aspect of the book. I can’t tell you how proud I am to write a book that really feels, I think, like a horror book.

While my Monument 14 trilogy was plenty scary, it was a post-apocalyptic series. It had a sci-fi element - the air had been contaminated by chemical warfare compounds, dividing the population by blood type. Type O’s turned into bloodthirsty killers, driven to manslaughter; Type A’s blistered up and died almost immediately upon exposure. Type B’s became intensely paranoid and Type AB’s were made sterile and impotent, but otherwise were just fine, so they could watch the carnage around them. Nice, I know!  But still, not a horror novel.

But Sweet is. It features a fairly slow build - at first, the passengers aboard the Extravagance feel terrific. They are enjoying the sweetener and losing weight rapidly.  But they soon become obsessed with Solu and start demanding more and more.

One of my favorite scenes in the book takes place at a formal ball the organizers have thrown when the passengers hit their first weight loss goal - on average, everyone has lost 5% of their body weight. At the ball, Laurel and her best friend Vivka, who’s taking Solu, watch as they roll out the dessert. It’s a giant S  made out of cream puffs held together by strands of caramel.

As celebratory speeches are made, Laurel stands there, watching as Viv edges forward toward the dessert, almost mindlessly. In fact, soon Laurel realizes she’s the only one not walking forward - she’s like a rock in a river and the other passengers are flowing around her.

The speeches continue, but the crowd grows antsy. They press closer and closer to the table, finally snatching handfuls of the cream puffs. That’s one of the first moments we know that something is not right.

And of course, things escalate from there.

Sweet is also a horror book that makes some social commentary about how far people are willing to go to lose weight - and also about how addiction is creeping up on us. Is it a proper horror novel? For goodness sake, read it and let me know. [@EmmyLaybourne on Twitter and Instagram - or join my mailing list at: http://emmylaybourne.fanbridge.com/]

In the meantime, I’ll be in my office, working for the mandroid.

 

 

Sweet
Emmy Laybourne

Feiwel & Friends
Releases June 2, 2015
I received a copy from the publisher as part of this blog tour
288 pages
YA / Horror

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Sweet!

Emmy and her publisher are giving one lucky Working for the Mandroid reader with a US mailing address a copy of her new book. Enter before May 31 for your chance to win!

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Author Blog Tour & Contest: Guest Post from Taran Matharu, Author of The Novice: Summoner Book 1

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Taran Matharu's blog tour for The Novice: Summoner Book 1, which just came out last week. I'm really excited to have him on the blog talking about sidekicks and what qualities really make a sidekick stand out. I mean, every good hero needs a sidekick, don't they?

You can see the entire tour schedule over on Mac Teen's blog here. If you'd like to read more of Taran's work, check out what he has hosted on WattPad here. We also have a copy of The Novice to give away, so stick around until the end of the post to enter!

What Does It Take to Create a Memorable Sidekick?

Creating a memorable sidekick is no easy task. With so many characteristics to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down what kind of character you want them to be. That being said there are a few common traits that I love to see in sidekicks. Here are just a few of them.

1.) Big, hairy and even a little simple

Both powerful and adorable, these creatures tend to be immensely protective of their partners. Some of the best known examples of these are Ludo from Labyrinth, Chewbacca from Star Wars, Baloo from The Jungle Book and Carol from Where the Wild Things Are.

2.) Only capable of saying one word or phrase

By limiting their ability to communicate, their connection with the protagonist becomes less cerebral and more emotional, which is just how I like it. I can’t help but include Chewie again on this list, as well as Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, Pikachu from Pokemon, Hodor from Game of Thrones and the Librarian from Discworld.

3.) Stubborn, independent and even a little mischievous

Sidekicks are not obedient servants to be ordered about. The best ones are always strong characters and think for themselves. My favorites are Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, Hooch from Turner and Hooch and Donkey from Shrek (to name but a few).

 

Thanks for stopping by Working for the Mandroid, Taran! I can't wait to see where Fletcher and his sidekick go next!

The Novice: Summoner Book 1
Taran Matharu

Feiwel & Friends
Released May 5, 2015
398 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

Win a Copy of The Novice: Summoner Book 1 by Taran Matharu!

Taran and his lovely publisher have provided a hard copy of The Novice to give away to one lucky Working for the Mandroid visitor. If you're interested and have a mailing address in the US, enter below before May 31 for your chance to win!

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