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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events for July

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events for July

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt Arabella of Mars BY David D. Levine Clear to Lift by Anne A. Wilson

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in July! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Levi Black, Red Right Hand

Wednesday, July 27
Eagle Eye Books
Decatur, GA
7:00 PM

Max Gladstone, Four Roads Cross

Wednesday, July 27
Porter Square Books
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Malka Older.

Neal Griffin, A Voice from the Field

Thursday, July 21
Barr Memorial Library
Fort Knox, KY
12:00 PM

Thursday, July 28
Book Passage
Corte Madera, CA
10:00 AM

Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Hex

Monday, July 11
Brookline Booksmith
Brookline, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Joe Hill and Paul Tremblay.

Tuesday, July 12
Bear Pond Books
Montpelier, VT
7:00 PM
Also with Paul Tremblay, Kristin Dearborn, and Daniel Mills.

Wednesday, July 13
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Friday, July 15
Old Firehouse Books
Fort Collins, CO
6:00 PM
Also with Stephen Graham Jones.

Sunday, July 17
American Bookbinders Museum
San Francisco, CA
6:30 PM
SF in SF – also with Richard Kadrey.

Tuesday, July 19
Dark Delicacies
Burbank, CA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, July 27
Eagle Eye Books
Decatur, GA
7:00 PM
Also with Levi Black.

Saturday, July 30
Malaprops
Asheville, NC
5:00 PM
Also with Jeff VanderMeer.

Jon Land, Strong Light of Day

Tuesday, July 19
Perks & Corks
Hosted by Savoy Bookshop and Café
Westerly, RI
7:00 PM
In conversation with Avram Noble Ludwig.

David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars

Wednesday, July 13
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Friday, July 15
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Saturday, July 16
Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum 
Hosted by Shades & Shadows.
Burbank, CA
8:00 PM

Wednesday, July 20
KGB Bar
New York, NY
7:00 PM
Also with Helen Marshall.

Thursday, July 28
Eagle Harbor Book Co
Bainbridge Island, WA
7:30 PM

Friday, July 29
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Avram Noble Ludwig, Shooting the Sphinx

Tuesday, June 28
Barnes & Noble
New York, NY
7:00 PM

Tuesday, July 19
Perks & Corks
Hosted by Savoy Bookshop and Café
Westerly, RI
7:00 PM
In conversation with Jon Land.

Malka Older, Infomocracy

Wednesday, July 27
Porter Square Books
Cambridge, MA
7:30 PM
In conversation with Max Gladstone.

Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning

Monday, July 11
RiverRun Bookstore
Portsmouth, NH
7:00 PM
Also with Jo Walton.

Tuesday, July 12
Harvard Book Store
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Jo Walton.

Wednesday, July 13
WORD Bookstore
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM
Also with Jo Walton.

Ralph Peters, The Damned of Petersburg

Saturday, July 9, 2016
Barnes & Noble
Alexandria, VA
3:00 PM

Tuesday, July 12
E. Shaver Booksellers
Savannah, GA
5:00 PM

Wednesday, July 13
Magnolia Hall
Bluffton, SC
6:30 PM

Sunday, July 31
Southampton Books
Southampton, NY
5:00 PM

Katie Schickel, The Mermaid’s Secret

Thursday, July 7
BookTowne
Manasquan, NJ
6:30 PM

Jo Walton, Necessity

Monday, July 11
RiverRun Bookstore
Portsmouth, NH
7:00 PM
Also with Ada Palmer.

Tuesday, July 12
Harvard Book Store
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
Also with Ada Palmer.

Wednesday, July 13
WORD Bookstore
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM
Also with Ada Palmer.

Anne A. Wilson, Clear to Lift

Tuesday, July 12
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Thursday, July 14
Barnes & Noble
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Saturday, July 16
Bookworks
Albuquerque, NM
3:00 PM

Tuesday, July 19
Warwick’s Books
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Wednesday, July 20
Book Carnival
Orange, CA
7:30 PM

F. Paul Wilson, Panacea

Monday, July 11
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Tuesday, July 12
Dark Delicacies
Burbank, CA
7:00 PM

Thursday, July 14
Norcross Cultural Arts Center
Hosted by the Gwinnett County Public Library. Books provided by Eagle Eye Books.
Norcross, GA
7:30 PM

Thursday, July 21
BookTowne
Manasquan, NJ
6:00 PM

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New Releases: 6/14/16

New Releases: 6/14/16

Here’s what went on sale today!

Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Air Time by Hank Phillippi RyanWhen savvy TV reporter Charlotte McNally enters the glamorous world of high fashion, she soon discovers that when the purses are fake–the danger is real.

Charlotte can’t tell the real from the false as she goes undercover to bring the couture counterfeiters to justice and struggles to answer a life-changing question from a certain handsome professor.

The one thing Charlotte knows for sure is that the wrong choice could be the last decision she ever makes.

False Hearts by Laura Lam

False Hearts by Laura LamRaised in the closed cult of Mana’s Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined.

Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins’ home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder–the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Zeal, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin’s life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins’ past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.

The Galahad Archives Book Two by Dom Testa

The Galahad Archives Book Two by Dom TestaThe Galahad Archives Book Two: Into Deep Space is the second of three thrilling two-book omnibus editions in the Galahad Archives series for young adults by Dom Testa. The edition includes the novels The Cassini Code and The Dark Zone.

When the tail of the comet Bhaktul flicks through the Earth’s atmosphere, deadly particles are left in its wake. Suddenly, mankind is confronted with a virus that devastates the adult population. Only those under the age of eighteen seem to be immune. A renowned scientist proposes a bold plan: to create a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system. Two years later, the Galahad and its crew—none over the age of sixteen—is launched.

MEG: Nightstalkers by Steve Alten

MEG: Nightstalkers by Steve AltenIn this fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling MEG series,Nighstalkers picks up where MEG: Hell’s Aquarium left off. Bela and Lizzy, the dominant Megalodon siblings from Angel’s brood, have escaped the Tanaka Institute to roam the Salish Sea in British Columbia. While Jonas Taylor and his friend Mac attempt to either recapture or kill the “sisters,” Jonas’s son, David, embarks on his own adventure, motivated by revenge. Having witnessed his girlfriend’s gruesome death, David has joined a Dubai Prince’s ocean expedition, tracking the 120-foot, hundred-ton Liopleurodon that escaped from the Panthalassa Sea. Haunted by night terrors, David repeatedly risks his life to lure the Lio and other prehistoric sea creatures into the fleet’s nets, while battling his own suicidal demons.

The Mermaid’s Secret by Katie Schickel

The Mermaid’s Secret by Katie SchickelLife on land is suffocating for Jess Creary, who wastes her summers flipping burgers for tourists on a fishing boat off her quaint resort island home off the coast of Maine. After all, her older sister Kay died in a boating accident two years ago, her mother has disappeared, and her father isn’t exactly dealing with things so well. Surfing and the handsome Captain Matthew are about the only bright spots in her life.

Then, on her twenty-third birthday, Jess catches the perfect wave–a wave that transforms her into a mermaid. Under the sea, a startlingly beautiful, dark place, Jess is reborn into a confident, powerful predator with superhuman strength –finally she is someone to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, back on land, Jess’s relationship with Captain Matthew heats up, and so does her search for justice for Kay.

Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley

Steeplejack by A. J. HartleySeventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga, Ang for short, works repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of Bar-Selehm, the ethnically-diverse industrial capital of a land resembling Victorian South Africa. The city was built on the trade of luxorite, a priceless glowing mineral. When the Beacon, a historical icon made of the largest piece of luxorite known to exist, is stolen, this news commands the headlines. Yet no one seems to care about the murder of Ang’s new apprentice Berrit. But when Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician, offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into dangers she could not foresee. On top of this legwork, Ang struggles with the responsibility of caring for her sister’s newborn child.

Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman

Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert ZuckermanAlbert Zuckerman, legendary literary agent, has worked with many bestselling authors, including Ken Follett, Olivia Goldsmith, Antoinette Van Heugten, Michael Lewis, and F. Paul Wilson. Zuckerman is a master at teaching writers the skills necessary to crack the bestseller list.

For this revised edition of Writing the Blockbuster Novel, Zuckerman has added an analysis of Nora Roberts’s The Witness, which he uses along with classic books like Gone With the Wind and The Godfather, to illustrate his points. Zuckerman’s commentary on Ken Follett’s working outlines for The Man From St. Petersburg provide a blueprint for building links between plot and character. A new introduction discusses social media and self-publishing.

NEW FROM TOR.COM:

Return of Souls by Andy Remic

Return of Souls by Andy RemicIf war is hell, there is no word to describe what Private Jones has been through. Forced into a conflict with an unknowable enemy, he awakes to find himself in a strange land, and is soon joined by young woman, Morana, who tends to his wounds and tells him of the battles played out in this impossible place.

She tells him of an Iron Beast that will end the Great War, and even as he vows to help her find it, enemy combatants seek them, intent on their utter annihilation.

NEW IN MANGA:

Masamune-kun’s Revenge Vol. 1 Story by Takeoka Hazuki; Art by Tiv

Servamp Vol. 6 by Strike Tanaka

See upcoming releases.

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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events for June

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events for June

Trail of Echoes by Rachel Howzell Hall The Mermaid's Secret by Katie Schickel Infomocracy by Malka Older

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in June! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Kathleen Baldwin, Exile for Dreamers

Friday, June 10
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
6:30 PM

Sunday, June 12
Barnes & Noble
Dallas, TX
3:00 PM

Claudia Christian, Wolf’s Empire: Gladiator

Thursday, June 30
Barnes & Noble
Los Angeles, CA
7:00 PM

Susan Dennard, Truthwitch

Friday, June 10
Barnes & Noble
Grand Rapids, MI
7:00 PM

David Lubar, Character, Driven

Saturday, June 11
Barnes & Noble
Easton, PA
2:00 PM

Avram Noble Ludwig, Shooting the Sphinx

Tuesday, June 28
Barnes & Noble
Upper East Side
New York, NY
7:00 PM

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway

Saturday, June 11
Kinokuniya
New York, NY
3:00 PM

Rachel Howzell Hall, Trail of Echoes

Sunday, June 5
Book Carnival
Orange, CA
2:00 PM

Wednesday, June 8
A Great Good Place for Books
Oakland, CA
7:00 PM

Friday, June 17
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
6:30 PM

Saturday, June 18
Mystery Lovers Bookshop
Oakmont, PA
2:00 PM

Linda Grimes, All Fixed Up

Saturday, June 4
Barnes & Noble
McLean, VA
1:00 PM

Malka Older, Infomocracy

Wednesday, June 8
Greenlight Bookstore
Brooklyn, NY
7:30 PM
In conversation with Daniel José Older.

Monday, June 13
Kramerbooks
Washington, D.C.
6:30 PM

Wednesday, June 15
An Unlikely Story
Plainville, MA
6:00 PM

Katie Schickel, The Mermaid’s Secret

Wednesday, June 15
Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun
Books provided by Bank Square Books
Uncasville, CT
12:00 PM

Thursday, June 16
Avon Free Public Library
Local Author Festival with Katie Schickel, Geoffrey Craig, Dawn Leger, Christopher Greene, and Velya Jancz-Urban
Avon, CT
7:00 PM

Friday, June 17
Jabberwocky Bookshop
Newburyport, MA
7:00 PM

Thursday, June 23
Bethany Beach Books
Bethany Beach, DE
6:30 PM

Friday, June 24
Brouseabout Books
Rehoboth Beach, DE
7:00 PM

David C. Taylor, Night Work

Sunday, June 12
Barnes & Noble
Newington, NH
1:00 PM

Dom Testa, The Galahad Archives, Book One

Saturday, June 11
Barnes & Noble
Lakewood, CO
12:00 PM

Simone Zelitch, Judenstaat

Monday, June 20
Philadelphia Free Library
Philadelphia, PA
6:00 PM

Also, be sure not to miss The Poisoned Pen’s Elevengeddon!

The-Poisoned-Pen-presents-14
Wednesday, June 1
The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ
Hosted by Kevin Hearne and featuring Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Pierce Brown, Beth Cato, Adam Christopher, Ryan Dalton, Leanna Renee Hieber, Jason Hough, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tom Leveen, Michael Martinez, Brian McClellan, Joseph Nassise, Sarah Remy, V.E. Schwab, Scott Sigler, Michael J. Sullivan, Sam Sykes, Dan Wells, and Django Wexler

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Writing What You Know

Writing What You Know

The Mermaid's Secret by Katie SchickelWritten by Katie Schickel

Why write about mermaids? Why not vampires, witches, or zombies? Or unicorns, for that matter. The answer is simple: I write what I know, and I know what the world looks like a hundred feet below the surface.

First of all, it’s dark down there. Everything is tinted blue. I’ve bled under water, bitten by a spotted eel, and watched my blood ooze black from my body, because red is the first color of the light spectrum to disappear. Vision can be deceiving. Currents, cross-currents, poor visibility, and flickering schools of fish make for a disorienting experience. Your eyes play tricks on you. You think you see the hull of shipwreck through the haze, but as you swim closer, nothing is there, and instead, another shape materializes in your peripheral vision. You give chase, only to find empty ocean where sunlight is reflected by particulates in the water, making liquid appear solid. Your sense of sound is just as unreliable.The roar of an engine far away might sound like a jet taking off right beside you. Even touch is misleading. I’ve brushed up against fire coral, which looks and feels harmless under water, but burns as soon as your skin hits air.

When my character, Jess, transforms into a mermaid, she doesn’t frolic in a coconut-shelled bikini and swim merrily through the ocean. She’s disoriented. Her senses are garbled. And she’s scared, just as I have been countless times in the ocean.

In my twenties, I was a dive master and dive instructor in the Florida Keys, where I logged hundreds of hours under water, in all weather, and all conditions. In my spare time, I worked as a freelance travel writer for dive magazines, picking up assignments throughout the Caribbean, and eventually as the managing editor for a dive magazine. I’ve done shark dives, swam with a whale shark in Australia, filmed a swordfish in Panama, cave-dived in Eleuthera, gotten nitrogen narcosis on a deep dive in Andros, and a case of the bends (decompression sickness) on airplane to Nassau. I’ve been besieged by schooling barracuda, surrounded by hunting dolphins, circled by sharks. I’ve explored shipwrecks and plane wrecks from Bermuda to Palau. I’ve been swept away by currents, trapped inside a shipwreck in zero visibility, and tossed around in big seas. In other words, without realizing it, I was gathering a hoard of material to someday write a book about a mermaid.

All those years as a professional scuba diver weren’t wasted after all. With The Mermaid’s Secret, I wanted the reader to feel what it’s really like under the sea, in all its spectacular beauty, as well as its dangers.

Buy The Mermaid’s Secret today:

Amazon Poster Placeholder of bn- 99 ibooks2 19 indiebound powells

Find out more about Kaie Schickel on Twitter and on her website.

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Housewitch eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99!

Housewitch eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99!

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Housewitch by Katie SchickelThe ebook for Katie Schickel’s Housewitch is on sale for only $2.99!*

About Housewitch: Allison Darling, former foster child, now a stay-at-home mom of three, desperately wants to fit in with the organic latte drinking, hundred-dollar-yoga-pants-wearing moms who run Monrovia, her charming seaside village. Constantly feeling like an outsider, Allison dreams of more for her children.

When the Glamour Girls, a soap-selling company run by the most charismatic and powerful women in town, recruits Allison, she jumps at the invitation. The Glamor Girls have a hand in everything in Monrovia, from bake sales to business deals. This is what Allison’s wanted her whole life—to be liked. To be popular. To belong.

After Allison’s estranged mother passes away, she learns her family’s heartbreaking legacy and the secret Allison’s been fighting to suppress all her life emerges: she’s a witch. What’s more, she’s not the only one in town. There’s more to the Glamour Girls then it seems… and once you’re a Glamour Girl, there’s no going back.

Allison must use her rediscovered magic to defend Monrovia, protect her marriage and her children, and reclaim her legacy. Fighting tooth and nail for her family is easy, but what about for herself? Is it too late to confront her own demons and become the woman she dreams of being?

Buy Housewitch today:

nook ebooks.com Image Place holder  of google play- 47 ibooks2 17 kindle kobo

Sale ends June 3rd.

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Sneak Peek: The Mermaid’s Secret by Katie Schickel

Sneak Peek: The Mermaid’s Secret by Katie Schickel

The Mermaid's Secret by Katie SchickelFrom Katie Schickel comes The Mermaid’s Secret, an original, fresh, and absolutely captivating beach read.

On her twenty-third birthday, Jess catches the perfect wave–a wave that transforms her into a mermaid. Under the sea, a startlingly beautiful, dark place, Jess is reborn into a confident, powerful predator with superhuman strength –finally she is someone to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, back on land, Jess’s relationship with Captain Matthew heats up, and so does her search for justice for her sister Kay, who died in a boating accident.

Jess has thirty days to choose between land and sea; legs and fins; her humanity and her freedom. Who could ignore the freedom of the sea? Yet, the ocean is a dark, wild, lonely place. Is this a gift or a curse? Will Jess choose family and love, forgiveness and truth, or will she be seduced by the wild call of the sparkling sea forever? Please enjoy this excerpt.

CHAPTER ONE

Out the windows of Kotoki-Pun Diner, I squint into the morning sun toward the Atlantic and watch a set roll in. The last wave spikes into a perfect peak and peels right. If I close my eyes, I can imagine myself in that little pocket of power, ripping down the face.

“More coffee, Jess?” Anne-Marie asks, walking up to my table with a glass carafe smudged in fingerprints. Her eyes aren’t on me; they’re watching the ocean as well.

“I’m good,” I say. I haven’t even touched my first cup.

“Got a lobster omelet for the special. Side of coleslaw.” She straightens her apron.

“Lobster? For breakfast?” I pick at my nails, flaking black polish onto my bare legs.

“Honey, it’s summer. We’d put lobster in the brownies if they’d buy it.” She points her chin toward the sea, the waves, the distant ferries under sail somewhere between the mainland and our island.

A breeze blows in and I can smell the salt water. “Did you know that lobsters are part of the cockroach family? It’s literally like eating bugs.”

Anne-Marie doesn’t flinch. “Then they’re in good company in our kitchen.” She taps her pencil against her notepad. “So, what’ll it be? Haven’t got all day.”

“I’m waiting for someone. Can you give me a few minutes?”

She looks down at me. Her hard eyes soften. “Sure thing, honey,” Waitresses at Kotoki-Pun Diner are supposed to be prickly and tough. They’re always telling customers to “Hurry it up” or “Get your own damn ketchup.” If you talk back, they skimp on your order or eighty-six the fries on you, even when you know that places like Kotoki-Pun Diner have at least five years’ worth of frozen french fries stored in their walk-ins. For some reason, tourists love the abuse. I guess it’s because people are always trying so hard to say the right thing that no one ever says what they’re really thinking. Hearing the truth—for example, that you have no business ordering a strawberry sundae after chowing down a half-pound burger and side order of onion rings—takes people off guard. And being taken off guard is what makes people laugh. Wakes them up to the moment.

But I get special treatment. Special, awful treatment. With a side of pity.

Outside, a police siren wails. I lift my hoodie over my head and slink into the booth, the skin on the back of my legs sticking to red vinyl. Blue lights flash across the tin ceiling.

The diner door swings open and Sheriff walks in. There’s a slouch in his shoulders, which makes him look old and broken, like a schooner with a snapped mast.

All the locals in the diner know him and look up with reverence, or else sympathy. Hard to tell the difference. They nod, greet him with “Sheriff.” He knows them all and nods back. “Gary.” “Jean.” “Louise.”

The line cook looks up, wipes his glistening forehead with the back of a sleeve, and gives him a “Morning, Sheriff.” He swats at something I can’t see behind the grill. Probably a cockroach.

The woman called Louise keeps looking at him long after he’s passed her table. She has a smile on her face like she’s just been crowned Miss Ne’Hwas, Queen of the Lobster Parade. It gives me the creeps. Not just because it’s unnerving to see old people flirt, but because he’s not available. Look at the wedding ring, Louise. I want to tell her to go fish in some other pond.

But I resist.

He stops at my booth. Everyone’s eyes are on me—the line cook, that Louise lady. I know what they’re thinking. The delinquent with the hoodie and the black eye makeup, busted before breakfast. Must be serious. Drugs. Solicitation. Grand theft.

“You had to use the siren?” I say.

“I was running late.”

“It’s embarrassing.”

He sits down, pulls off his hat, and places it on the seat next to him. “For you,” he says, and slides a box with a pink ribbon across the table. “Happy birthday, Jess.”

I try to smile, but I’ve forgotten how. I feel the muscles in my cheeks draw my lips toward my ears. The skin tightens across my forehead. But my eyes don’t change. It’s a cartoon smile drawn by a big cartoonist hand in the sky.

“Next time, can you just pick up a phone to let me know you’re running late? Like a normal person?”

“I don’t trust mobile phones,” he says. “Reception’s spotty on the island.”

You’d think we live on the moon. But it’s not quite the moon. It’s Ne’Hwas—pronounced nuh-he-wuz, as all tourist brochures by the cash register point out. According to the plethora of marketing materials designed to drum up summer business, we are “a quaint island in the Gulf of Maine with lush mountains and glorious beaches … a charming retreat for the whole family … a world-class fishing destination … a perfect mix of rugged nature and refined living.” If I were to write my own brochure, I might add “isolated, suffocating, and haunted.”

I pull off the ribbon and open the box. Inside is a comb carved of bone, its prongs sharp and buffed to a polish. On the handle, four concentric spirals swirl outward from a star inlaid with black onyx.

“It’s the Passamaquoddy symbol for strength,” Sheriff says. “I got it at a strange little shop downtown. Right near your apartment, actually. Lady in the shop told me it’s made out of sperm whalebone.”

I turn it over, admiring the intricate carving, the burnished bone. It’s a unique piece. Very cool. Very me. I’m thankful it’s not something girly that I’d never wear, like a pair of pewter sand dollar earrings from the Anchor’s Away gift shop downtown.

“It’s legal,” Sheriff says. “I checked. The tribe gets special dispensation for collecting whalebones under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.”

I fumble through a series of responses, trying to find an appropriate way to express my feelings. Finally, I mumble out, “Thanks, Dad.”

He smiles.

I never call him Dad. He’s always been Sheriff. He earned that nickname when he was a kid, and it stuck. Apparently, he was always keeping other kids in the neighborhood safe, facing off against bullies, rescuing people from rip currents and rising tides. He was the sheriff in town, there to protect and serve all.

Well, almost all.

I pull off my hood and let my hair fall down to my shoulders. I twist it into a bun, and stick the comb in. “What do you think?”

“It’s very becoming on you,” Sheriff says. “She had one with the symbol for harmony, but I thought this suited you better.”

“Yeah, harmony isn’t exactly my thing.”

“I was going to get you a pretty little sand dollar bracelet,” he says.

I smirk.

“But that old woman was quite insistent on this comb. She’s Passamaquoddy, just like you. Figured she probably knew more about it than I do.”

“Sometimes I think you’re more interested in my Passamaquoddy roots than Mom,” I say.

“It’s who you are, Jess. You have to honor that. Your heritage is as old as the rocks that line Kotoki-Pun Point.”

“I’m half Creary, too,” I say, but as I look into Sheriff’s blue eyes and freckled Irish skin, I don’t see any of me in him. I inherited my mom’s dark skin, high cheekbones, and golden eyes. I definitely look more Native American than Irish cop.

“Did you hear from her?” he asks, cradling the cup of coffee Anne-Marie has set down for him.

“Not even a card.”

“Well,” Sheriff says, blowing into his cup, “don’t hold it against her if she doesn’t call you today. She’s hurting.”

“We’re all hurting.”

The first year after you lose someone, there are no birthday parties, because celebrating doesn’t even enter your mind. Holidays only serve as reminders of what you’ve lost—the first Thanksgiving Kay and I won’t stay up all night watching a Godfather marathon; the first Christmas Kay and I won’t crack ourselves up by sneaking chunks of coal into Sheriff’s stocking. The birthday Kay would have turned twenty-four. These are days that are best left ignored. And people understand. By the second year, though, the world has moved on, and expects you to move along with it. Only, I haven’t. And neither has Sheriff.

I look out at the waves again. A gust of wind churns the surface into a thousand whitecaps.

Not that suffering is a competitive sport, but if there were a family lottery on misery, today I’d be the winner. Today, I’m twenty-three and getting older every day. Kay will be twenty-three forever. From this day forward, I will be older than my older sister. From here on out, I’m the first. I’m the one who gets to experience adulthood, marriage, childbirth, and old age. I’m the one with my whole life in front of me, with all the shimmering hope that implies. I’m the lucky one who gets to do extraordinary things and make a difference in this world.

I’m also the one who gets to fail to live up to my potential, screw up everything I try, push away the people I love, and end up as a huge disappointment to everyone around me. Happy fucking birthday to me.

Sheriff changes the subject. “Are you working for Harold this summer?”

“Tips are good.” I dump a packet of sugar into my coffee and swish it around.

“It’s a little late, but I can get you an interview at the park. If you want.”

I sigh. “To do what? Work as a ticket taker for minimum wage? I’ll make triple that on the fishing boats.”

“There are good benefits working for the state.”

“Here it comes.” I give him my petulant-child look. I’m good at that one. I’ve also got I-don’t-give-a-crap-what-you-think ungrateful teenager and go-ahead-dare-me-and-see-what-I-do rebel girl down solid.

He’s undeterred. “You have to think about the long term, Jess. Are you just going to stay on Ne’Hwas for the rest of your life? There’s more opportunity on the mainland.”

“You’ve been on Ne’Hwas your whole life.”

“There’s more for you out there.” Instinctively, he points west. “The world is your oyster.”

I rub my temples. “Do you know how corny that sounds?”

He tightens his jaw and he touches the bridge of his nose. “It’s not too late to get your degree. You liked biology, remember? You were very good at it, if I recall.”

“Yeah, I like biology, but you can’t just take biology. You have to sit through all those other classes, too. I tried it, Sheriff. College wasn’t for me.”

“If you’re not going to go back to school, you should at least build your résumé working for the state.”

“I don’t want a crappy job working at the park. I like working on boats. I like being out on the water. It’s the only place I like to be.”

He slaps the table. “It’s not always about doing what you like. You can’t just party your summer away and hope to get by all winter. You’re not a kid anymore. You have to think about your future, Jess. If you put in your time working for the state, you can move through the ranks. It can be your ticket out of here.”

I throw my hands up. “I’m not her, okay?”

His face falls. The very mention of my sister casts him somewhere far away. He puts his coffee down and wipes imaginary crumbs off the table. “I know you’re not her.”

Anne-Marie comes over to take our order. “You two ready?”

Sheriff pulls a menu out from behind the napkin dispenser.

“Got a lobster omelet for the special today,” Anne-Marie says.

Sheriff shakes his head, his eyes still on the menu. The slouch in his shoulders has deepened since we’ve been sitting here.

“I’ll have blueberry pancakes,” I say.

“It’s her birthday,” Sheriff says, trying to sound cheery, but hitting a flat note instead.

Anne-Marie puts her hands on her hips. “Why didn’t you tell me? How old are you now?”

I cringe. “Twenty-three.”

Anne-Marie looks out the window, through all the birthdays that have come and gone. “Ah, to be twenty-three again. Well, happy birthday. Extra whipped cream for you.”

Sheriff concentrates on the menu intently like it’s a work by Shakespeare or something, but I can tell his mind is far away from breakfast combos.

Anne-Marie can tell, too. She takes the menu out of his hands. “OJ. Two eggs over easy, bacon, home fries, whole wheat toast. Buttered.”

Sheriff nods. “Thank you.”

I can’t bear the weight of my father’s grief for another minute. It’s like watching a pilot whale beach itself on the sand, giving up on any chance of rescue. Kay was twenty-three when she died in a boating accident two summers ago. She was heading to law school in the fall and had an amazing future ahead of her. Instead, she got in a boat with Trip Sinclair.

It’s the tragedy that has come to define my family.

It didn’t take long for my mom and Sheriff to start sabotaging their marriage after that. Every time they looked at each other, all they could think about was what they’d lost. Their gifted daughter, the scholarship student, the athlete, the most likely to succeed. The girl who was going somewhere. The good one. The pretty one. All that potential, splattered molecule by molecule into the sea.

My mom finally split after Christmas. Said she was going on a spirit journey. Packed up and caught the ferry west, where she couldn’t be pulled anymore by tides or constant reminders of Kay. She hugged me for a long time at the ferry dock. She had a curious look on her face, one I didn’t recognize. It seemed like she was holding so much back. She told me she loved me and that she’d see me soon, but that was six months ago. Soon never seems to come.

I don’t fault her for taking a break. Believe me, I know what it’s like to want to drop everything and run. To escape. That’s another thing I inherited from her. But her absence is starting to eat away at both me and Sheriff.

We sit in silence.

“Any big birthday plans tonight?” he says finally.

“Sammy has a party planned. It’s supposed to be a surprise, but you know Sammy.”

He throws his head back. Yes, he’s known Sammy her whole life. “What tipped you off?”

I think about this for a second. It was strange when she went on a cleaning rampage in the apartment, clearing the bathroom vanity of all her hair products and lotions. She must have originally planned to have the party at our place. It was also very un-Sammy-like to sneak into her bedroom to make phone calls every time we were watching The Bachelorette. I mean, she’s practically had phone sex with Spencer while sitting right next to me on the couch. The girl doesn’t keep secrets.

“She kept insisting that she didn’t have plans. That was it,” I say. “She’d bring up the lack of plans, even if I didn’t ask.”

“Rookie mistake,” Sheriff says.

“Definitely.”

“Well, have fun,” he says. “No drinking and driving.”

“I know.”

“You can always call me if you find yourself in a situation.”

I give him the you’ve-got-to-be-kidding look.

“I get it. I’d embarrass you. But season opens today. Things are always chaotic the first week. You have to be extra cautious.”

I look out at the waves again. Season. All of life on Ne’Hwas revolves around that single word. “How many people do you think are blowing chunks on the ferry right now?” I ask.

He looks out the window, too. “Onshore wind. East-southeast. Perfect seasickness conditions. I’d say sixty percent.”

I give him a conspiratorial laugh. “Seventy-five. At least.”

“Now that’s one seasonal job you definitely don’t want.”

“For sure.”

Copyright © 2016 by Katherine Schickel

The Mermaid’s Secret comes out June 14th. Pre-order it today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in February

On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in February

The Glass Arrow by Kristen SimmonsThe Eterna Files by Leanna Renee HieberOf Irish Blood by Mary Pat KellyFinn Fancy Necromancy

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in February! Once a month, we’re collecting info about all of our upcoming author events. Check and see who’ll be coming to a city near you:

Elizabeth Bear, Karen Memory

Thursday, February 12
Pandemonium Books and Games
Also with Scott Lynch
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

James Grady, Last Days of the Condor

Wednesday, February 18
Politics and Prose
Washington, D.C.
7:00 PM

Thursday, February 19
Mysterious Bookshop
New York, NY
6:30 PM

Randy Henderson, Finn Fancy Necromancy

Tuesday, February 10
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 11
Liberty Bay Books
Poulsbo, WA
6:30 PM

Thursday, February 12
Eagle Harbor Book Co.
Bainbridge Island, WA
7:30 PM

Tuesday, February 17
The Wilde Rover
Also with Mark Teppo and Scott James Magner. Books provided by University Bookstore.
Kirkland, WA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 18
McMenamins Kennedy School
Also with Mark Teppo and Scott James Magner.
Portland, OR
7:00 PM

Thursday, February 19
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 21
Avid Reader
Sacramento, CA
7:30 PM

Monday, February 23
Books Inc.
Mountain View, CA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 25
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Friday, February 27
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA
7:00 PM

Leanna Renee Hieber, The Eterna Files

Wednesday, February 11
Word Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM

Friday, February 13
Barnes & Noble
Also with Alethea Kontis.
West Melbourne, FL
7:00 PM

Monday, February 16
Barnes & Noble
Also with Alethea Kontis.
Tampa, FL
6:00 PM

Tuesday, February 17
Barnes & Noble
Also with Alethea Kontis.
Orlando, FL
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 21
Barnes & Noble
Also with Alethea Kontis.
Tallahassee, FL
1:00 PM

Mary Pat Kelly, Of Irish Blood

Wednesday, February 4
Barnes & Noble
Upper West Side
New York, NY
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 7
Neil Shanahan Educators Seminar: Irish and Irish American Women in the Development of the Modern World
Panel Discussion with Irish Consul General Barbara Jones
991 5th Ave
New York, NY
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Wednesday, February 11
Brookline Booksmith
Boston, MA
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 14
Titcomb’s Bookshop
East Sandwich, MA
2:00 PM

Sunday, February 15
South Yarmouth Library
South Yarmouth, MA
2:00 PM

Monday, February 16
Blue Bunny Books
Dedham, MA
3:00 PM

Thursday, February 19
Chester County Books
West Chester, PA
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 21
Books & Co.
Beavercreek, OH
2:00 PM

Sunday, February 22
Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH
1:30 PM

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Truth Be Told

Wednesday, February 18
Marlborough Public Library
Marlborough, MA
7:00 PM

Katie Schickel, Housewitch

Tuesday, February 17
The Harvard Coop
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Monday, February 23
Books-A-Million
South Portland, ME
7:00 PM

Friday, February 27
Jabberwocky Bookshop
Newburyport, MA
7:00 PM

Kristen Simmons, The Glass Arrow

Tuesday, February 10
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Cincinnati, OH
7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 11
Carmichael’s Bookstore
Louisville, KY
6:00 PM

Saturday, February 14
Barnes & Noble
Happy Valentine’s Day! Also with Jules Bennett, Lori Foster, Toni Blake, Jessica Lemmon, Jennifer McGowan, Donna MacMeans, and Patricia Sargeant.
West Chester, OH
1:00 PM

Tuesday, February 17
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Lexington, KY
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 21
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Crestview Hills, KY
2:00 PM

Carrie Vaughn, Low Midnight

Thursday, February 5
The Book Bin
Salem, OR
7:00 PM

Thursday, February 12
The Harvard Coop
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Starred Review: Housewitch by Katie Schickel

Starred Review: Housewitch by Katie Schickel

Housewitch by Katie Schickel“…Schickel makes a clever statement about the illusion of popularity and the power of trusting yourself.”

Katie Schickel’s Housewitch got a starred review in Booklist!

Here’s the full review, from the January 1 issue:

starred-review-gif
In this enchanting debut novel, Schickel tells a tale of family and community with a magical twist. Allison Darling spent most of her childhood in foster care and still has a difficult time fitting in as a wife and mother. The idyllic seaside town where her family lives is run by a clique of seemingly perfect women led by Astrid, the founder of Glamour, an all-natural soap and cosmetics company. Most of Monrovia’s residents sell or use the products, and Astrid and the Glamour Girls control the town’s school, businesses, and even its city council. When Allison begins to make inroads with the group, she discovers the secret to their influence: witchcraft.

At the same time, Allison’s estranged mother dies in a mental institution, and by seeking out her remaining relatives, Allison learns that she’s descended from a long line of real witches. And she finds that beyond superficial spells for beauty, Astrid is practicing dark magic. What ensues is a classic, page-turning battle between good and evil set among the trappings of suburban motherhood. By transforming a clique into a coven, Schickel makes a clever statement about the illusion of popularity and the power of trusting yourself.

Housewitch will be published on February 17.

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