Debut Showcase – Early December (and some November) Debuts

I’m officially back! I’ve had a nice break, which was much-needed because I spent a large part of it sick. But the antibiotics appear to be working and since I was up early today, I decided I’d finish up this debut round-up. I also have a bunch of reviews in the works — being sick makes me quite a prolific book-reader.

So here we go!

The Better Part of Darkness

by Kelly Gay
Amazon USAUKCanada
Pocket Books – 7.99

Divorced mother of one, Charlie Madigan, lives in a world where the beings of heaven and hell exist among us, and they aren’t the things of Sunday school lessons and Hallmark figurines. In the years since the Revelation, they’ve become our co-workers, neighbors, and fellow citizens.

Charlie works for ITF (Integration Task Force). It’s her job to see that the continued integration of our new “friends” goes smoothly and everyone obeys the law, but when a new off-world drug is released in Underground Atlanta, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won’t do to set things right.

I reviewed The Better Part of Darkness before Thanksgiving and found it fast-paced and engrossing, with touching relationships and an intriguing mythology. The author is, of course, Kelly Gay, who has been a frequent guest on both of my blogs as my first-ever Upcoming Debut Author. Here are all her posts:

Newly Signed AuthorThe ContractRevisions and CopyeditsRelease Day Post

The Seven Rays
by Jessica Bendinger (Website IMDB Site)
Amazon USAUKCanada
Hardcover – $16.99
Genre: Paranormal Romance

You are more than you think you are.

THAT IS THE ANONYMOUS MESSAGE that Beth Michaels receives right before she starts seeing things. Not just a slept-through my-alarm-clock, late-for-homeroom, haven’t had-my-caffeine-fix kind of seeing things. It all starts with some dots, annoying pink dots that pop up on and over her mom and her best friend’s face. But then things get out of control and Beth is seeing people’s pasts, their fears, their secrets, their desires. The images are coming at Beth in hi-def streaming video and she can’t stop it. Everyone thinks she’s crazy and she’s pretty sure she agrees with them. But crazy doesn’t explain the gold envelopes that have started arriving, containing seeing keys and mysterious tarot cards. To Beth, it all seems too weird to be true. You are more than you think you are? But here’s the thing: What if she is?

I think this is my first screenplay writer, but I know I covered a producer once, way back when in the days of Fantasy Debut. It appears that the movie Bring It On was the author’s first major success.

Three Days to Dead

by Kelly Meding
Amazon USAUKCanada
Dell – Paperback – $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

She’s young, deadly and hunted–with only three days to solve her own murder.

When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue – in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there – her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night, she and the other two members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters — mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls. Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives, but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor . . . and she can’t even remember what it was.

Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice – and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off. Because in three days, Evy will die again – but this time, there’s no second chance…

This is another week-of-Thanksgiving debut and the review copies were a hot commodity! We hope to be able to put up a review for you soon. It certainly begins with a bang.

(An aside – the Amazon links are a pain and in all the time I’ve run this blog, I’ve never earned enough in referrals to make a single withdrawal. My balance has been 2.10 since 2008. I must either be doing it wrong, or they make it incredibly difficult to actually earn any money.

So from now on, I’m just linking to the author site and I’ll leave it up to the author to actually sell their novels.

Sorry to sound so cranky. This should make things more fun.)

Mistress by Mistake

by Susan Gee Heino
Paperback – $7.99
Genre: Historical Romance
(via Edelweiss)

Lord Dashford has decided to ward off the marriage-minded by convincing the world he’s throwing away his fortune. No matter, since heiress Evaline Pinchley, dragged to the Dashford estate, has no inclination to marry him.

Unfortunately, she fails to recognize her host when he begins to seduce her. An empty bottle later, Evaline wakes to find herself in Dashford’s bed. Now rumors and passions are sure to run wild—unless Dashford and Evaline realize that what happened by moonlight was no mistake.

This is kind of a sketchy blurb. When I used to read romances in the 80s, I read a surprising number of them that involved the heroine not recognizing her seducer, or even her husband. It must be a popular and enduring theme.

Knight of Pleasure

by Margaret Mallory
Paperback – $6.99
Genre: Historical  Romance
(via Edelweiss)

Lady Isobel Hume is an expert swordswoman who knows how to choose her battles. When the king asks her to wed a French nobleman to form a political alliance, she agrees. But that’s before the devilishly charming Sir Stephen Carleton captures her heart-and tempts her to betray her betrothed, her king, and her country.

Sir Stephen Carleton enjoys his many female admirers-until he dedicates himself to winning the lovely Isobel. So when a threat against the king leads Isobel into mortal danger, Stephen has a chance to prove that he is more than a knight of pleasure…and that love can conquer all.

Ok, any novel with an expert swordswoman is going to tempt me, no matter what the genre. If only I weren’t already beginning to drown in books! This is a strong maybe, even though I really hate the cover.

Ark of Fire

by C.M. Palov
Paperback – $7.99
Genre: Thriller
(via Edelweiss)

If the Ark of the Covenant really exists, it would be the most important discovery in the history of mankind… And for whoever possesses it, the most dangerous.

Photographer Edie Miller witnesses a murder and the theft of an ancient Hebrew relic. Fearing authorities are complicit, she turns to a historian for help. Neither realizes the breadth of the crime, its ties to a government conspiracy, or its connection to the most valuable relic in history—until they are both marked for execution.

A religious thriller. I haven’t read any of these, including Dan Brown’s. I love the cover. It, of course, reminds me of the arc from Raiders of the Lost Arc, but the Bible is quite explicit in its description of how the arc should look. The poles, the winged angels covering the arc — everything.

(Wow – linking to author sites only is so easy I that decided to add covers again. But ONLY if the author makes it easy on me. If there is no cover here, blame the author, not the blogger. Ok, so blame the blogger too, because I didn’t feel like hunting them down.)

Spinning Tropics
by Aska Mochizuki
Trade paperback – $15.00
Genre: Literary

Meet Hiro. She’s tall, lanky and awkward—a twenty-something Japanese woman who has decamped to Vietnam from Tokyo to work as a language teacher.

Meet Dung. She’s shy, beautiful, and tough—a young Vietnamese woman studying Japanese, determined to create a better life for herself and her family.

When Dung becomes one of Hiro’s students, they are instantly drawn to each other. For both of them, it is their first time in love with another woman. But when Konno, an older Japanese businessman, befriends Hiro, Dung begins to grow unbearably jealous. What unfolds is a love triangle with very complicated, ultimately devastating, results. Set against the backdrop of a Vietnam on the economic rise, debut novelist Aska Mochizuki vividly brings to life the buzz of motorcycles and the tastes of Vietnamese coffee and spicy papaya salads; the confines of the Vietnamese family; the lingering effects of long wars; the rich who ride the economic wave and the poor who are left behind. Spinning Tropics is a lush and evocative story of an intoxicating love affair.

I included the publisher’s link because I was unable to find an author website. And I’m afraid the cover art was buried in widgets.

The Faces of Gone

by Brad Parks
Hardcover – $25.99 (discounts at Amazon)
Genre – Mystery
Hat Tip: Criminal Minds

Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner.  Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another.

The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter’s paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn’t come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark’s neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this.

Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper’s smoking-hot city editor, to run interference at the office; Tommy Hernandez, the paper’s gay Cuban intern, to help him with legwork on the streets; and Tynesha Dales, a local stripper, to take him to Newark’s underside. It turns out that the four victims have one connection after all, and this knowledge will put Carter on the path of one very ambitious killer.

From the blurb, it’s not obvious that this novel is the type that might earn this bit of praise: “The most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich”. But I don’t suppose Library Journal would have said such a thing (or given it a starred review) if it weren’t true. Evanovich fans (myself included) take note!


Whew! I’ll know better than to let the debuts pile up like this again! The next round-up will be for debuts after December 15th.

The comments are now threaded, so you can reply to a particular comment and it will appear with that comment. I’m hoping it will make the discussions here more fun.

So what did you think? Did any of these debuts light your fire?