marthawells: (Miko)
* Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
In the latest novel in Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series, a woman is confronted with the past she left behind—and an uncertain future...

* Shadow Histories of the River Kingdom by Juliet E. McKenna
Imaginary friends should be a comfort when other consolations fail. But what if these longed-for companions think different? What if they're none too pleased to be summoned? What if untamed magic can spawn creatures from daydreams or nightmares? Could something eerie half-glimpsed in a shadow actually be there?

* Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
In the much-anticipated sequel to the “magnificent fantasy epic” (NPR) Grace of Kings, Emperor Kuni Garu is faced with the invasion of an invincible army in his kingdom and must quickly find a way to defeat the intruders.

* Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
A teen who is half-god, half-human must own her power whether she likes it or not in this snappy, snarky novel with a serving of smoldering romance.

These next two books are up for preorder. Both are by great authors who you are going to want to see more of:

* The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
a near future thriller set in South Africa in which a diverse set of characters imbued with supernatural abilities by a street drug called Godsend must band together against a disenfranchised goddess who intends to remake their world and change the fate of humanity forever. More info:

* Substrate Phantoms by Jessica Reisman
The space station Termagenti—hub of commerce, culture, and civilization—may be haunted. Dangerous power surges, inexplicable energy manifestations, and strange accidents plague the station. Even after generations of exploring deep space, humanity has yet to encounter another race, and yet, some believe that what is troubling the station may be an alien life form. I've heard the beginning of this one and am really looking forward to it. More info:


Friday, November 11th, 2016 08:06 am
marthawells: (Default)
This is what I posted on Facebook:

Here's the thing. If you're a Trump supporter, I don't want to come together with you. I don't want to talk to you or acknowledge your existence. I don't think you have a right to your hatred, ignorance, and bigotry. Don't bother telling me you'll stop buying my books or burn my books or burn me. I don't want you to have my books, it disgusts me that you read the words I put down on paper and ever thought we had anything in common. And I won't appease your attempt to justify your bigotry, so don't bother to shit your hate on this post. I'll block you with a happy heart and I'll never look back.

Count me among the Resistance.


I'm not allowing comments, because the same thing goes here.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)

The next (and last) Raksura book, The Harbors of the Sun, is starting show up for preorder in ebook on Kindle and Kobo. (It should also be showing up on Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, France, Germany, etc, just check your local Amazon.)

The paperback of The Edge of Worlds will be out in April and is up for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you've already read The Edge of Worlds, please consider leaving a review or rating on Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing, etc. It really does help, and it's all the advertising the books will get. And it's very much appreciated.

New Book Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 07:57 am
marthawells: (Reading)
* Wolf At the Door by J. Damask
Housewife, ex-teen vigilante…and shape-shifting wolf…Jan Xu has enough problems without adding her sister’s to the mix. Marianne is returning to Singapore and she’s filled with strange ideas. She’s also not alone. She’s coming home with a new boyfriend who has a dark agenda of his own.

* Preorder: The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

* Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke
In Argentine Antarctica, Eliana Gomez is the only female PI in Hope City—a domed colony dependent on electricity (and maintenance robots) for heat, light, and survival in the icy deserts of the continent. At the center is an old amusement park—now home only to the androids once programmed to entertain—but Hope City’s days as a tourist destination are long over.

* Faller by Will McIntosh
Day One: No one can remember anything—who they are, family and friends, or even how to read. Reality has fragmented and Earth consists of an islands of rock floating in an endless sky. Food, water, electricity—gone, except for what people can find, and they can't find much.

* Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno Garcia
Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eeking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

* A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. In defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind gay romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.

* Hen and Chick: The Marauders Island by Tristan J. Tarwater
Azria is a mage of Miz, trained to wield the magic her country is famous for. When her estranged mother, alleged pirate Captain Apzana of the Hen & Chick, shows up on her 16th birthday offering her adventure, Azria leaves the life she knows for the promise of riches, renown and danger at her mother’s side.

* Daughter of a Nation A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology
The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts. In Daughters of A Nation, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.

* Preorder: The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier
Gulien Madalin, heir to the throne of Carastind, finds himself more interested in ancient history than the tedious business of government and watching his father rule. But Gulien suspects that his father has offended the Kieba so seriously that she has withdrawn her protection from the kingdom. Worse, he fears that Carastind’s enemies suspect this as well.

* Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
In the latest novel in Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series, a woman is confronted with the past she left behind—and an uncertain future...

Story: Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander

Story: We Have Always Been Here, Motherfucker by Monica Valentinelli

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 31st, 2016 07:49 am
marthawells: (SGA Team)
* I wanted to remind everybody that the price for World Fantasy 2017 in San Antonio goes up on Nov 1, so this is a great time to buy your membership. I'll be toastmaster, so you should totally go to the con.

* Halloween photos:

* I can't remember if I posted this here or not: The TAMU newspaper did an article on the worldbuilding talk I did for the Hal Hall Lecture Series:

* Congrats to the World Fantasy 2016 winners! Excellent award list all around!
marthawells: made by ltlj (Indeed)

I've sold two new SF novellas to the novella line, and the first one The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red will come out next summer in ebook and paperback. Yay! I'm really excited about this.
marthawells: (Reading)
* Story: A Cup of Comfort by Stephanie Burgis

* Dark Claw by J. Damask
Gabriel Sutherland, scion of Lord Kevin Sutherland, returns to Singapore, to deal with the resurgence of the Dark Claws, a splinter group of ultra-conservative drakes. Tragedy strikes and he becomes Lord Sutherland, leader of a clan of drakes. Along the way, he also discovers a long-lost sibling.

* The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi
The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend: When evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, a hero will emerge. Is the unexpected, rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant Shiva that hero? Drawn suddenly to his destiny, duty, and by love, Shiva will attempt to move mountains and lead the Suryavanshi to destroy evil.

* Story: The Witch of the Orion Waste and the Boy Knight by E. Lily Yu

* Story: A Moment of Gravity, Circumscribed by Fran Wilde

* Story: Anything That Isn't Winter by Margaret Killjoy

* The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
With a foreword by Neil Gaiman and an introduction by renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes, this stunning gallery of sculptural works will thrill and delight art lovers and fairy-tale aficionados alike.

* The Starlit Wood edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien
An all-new anthology of cross-genre fairy tale retellings, featuring an all-star lineup of award-winning and critically acclaimed writers.

* Rose and Thorn by Sarah Prineas
After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with—curses that will put her into her own fairy tale and a century-long slumber. Accompanied by Griff, the handsome and mysterious Watcher, and Quirk, his witty and warmhearted partner, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to her story. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the fairy tale they are trying to avoid?

* The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu
Ella Patel – thief, con-artist and smuggler – is in the wrong place at the wrong time. One night, on the border of a demilitarized zone run by the body-swapping alien invaders, she happens upon a man and woman being chased by a group of assailants.

* Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley
The stunning sequel to Maria Dahvana Headley’s critically acclaimed Magonia tells the story of one girl who must make an impossible choice between two families, two homes—and two versions of herself. Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend, Jason, is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.

* The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
In the much-anticipated sequel to the “magnificent fantasy epic” (NPR) Grace of Kings, Emperor Kuni Garu is faced with the invasion of an invincible army in his kingdom and must quickly find a way to defeat the intruders.
marthawells: (Default)
I gave a lecture on worldbuilding in SF/F and did a question and answer session on the TAMU campus last night, as part of Cushing Library And Archives Hal Hall Lecture Series. It was a great audience of students and faculty, and I had a lot of fun.

Here's the talk I gave about worldbuilding:

What is worldbuilding? Briefly, it's the setting you create for a fictional work, including the type of landscape, the environment, the climate, as well as the people who live there and their cultures. It's the physical and mental space that your story occupies.

Worldbuilding is all about choices. Even if the setting is a real world place, (like the way The Avengers was set in New York) you will be making choices. Where do the characters live, what things do they need there, what is their income level, what is the weather, what is their community. That's all worldbuilding.

There are also settings that are fictional but are meant to be understood by the reader as real. One older example is in the book Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. It's a fictional setting inserted into a real world place, so seamlessly that readers can't tell if it's based on a real town or not. You can find the spot on the map where it's supposed to be, it's just not there.

But the kind of worldbuilding that most people think of when they hear the word, is in secondary world fantasy. That's fantasy that does not take place on earth, but in its own invented world. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, are secondary world fantasy. It's sometimes called created world fantasy. Or just fantasy.

Worldbuilding is an element of a fantasy novel, but like all the other elements, plot, story, characterization, it can't exist in a vacuum. Who your characters are and what their goals and problems and agendas are is going to be wrapped up and inseparable with the world they live in. Worldbuilding can and should help drive your plot and be essential to your story. The best fantasy stories can only take place in the world that was created for them, they can't be removed from that context without changing things that are essential to the story and the characters.

For example: My current fantasy series is the Books of the Raksura. The main character is an orphaned shapeshifter who can transform into a flying creature who looks like what we would think of as a demon. He has no idea what species he is, but has to hide his ability to shapeshift because the species he most resembles are the predators that everyone is terrified of. He finds his own people by accident, and then has to try to fit in to a complex matriarchal culture that he has a very important biological role in.

The themes of that story are about identity, about finding your place in the world, finding a place where you belong when it's maybe a little too late for you to adapt your behavior to fit in. There are themes about gender roles, about sexual roles, and there's a lot of fighting and chasing and adventure. Those individual themes can be removed from that setting and put into a real world context, but the specific way this story uses them really can't.

Worldbuilding for fantasy can be realistic, which is where you think about things like how your magical floating city in the clouds gets its food, water, and the other necessities of its infrastructure, and how it deals with its sewers and garbage. The solutions to those problems can of course be magical. And you don't have to tell them all to the reader, unless they're important to the story. But knowing how the nuts and bolts of your magical city work can inform your worldbuilding with a sense of verisimilitude.

Some people believe that fantasy by definition has to take place in a kind of world that's basically a caricature of medieval England. It has certain inalienable characteristics. Everyone wears hooded cloaks, because it's always cold and rainy or snowy. Everyone's white. Women have limited employment choices. In fact they have two employment choices: princess or whore. Or sometimes nuns, if they're lucky. The government is a monarchy. Everyone eats stew and there are a lot of taverns to sit around in and meet the rest of your party.

It used to be called "derivative" because the assumption was that the author didn't do research on the real Europe, the real England of the medieval, or any other, time period. They read other people's fantasy books and copied them. Derivative fantasy tends to be about as much like the real middle ages in Europe as New Orleans square in Disneyland is like New Orleans. Except everyone knows Disney New Orleans isn't real, isn't supposed to be real, and a lot of people think the faux medieval world of these novels is "historically accurate." (air quotes) That's an excuse, and it's the kind of excuse that's a lie.

That standard faux medieval setting is not real, it is not even close to the historic reality. It's a choice. It's a secondary world, a created world, made up of the author's choices. Making all the characters white, erasing the rest of humanity, and taking any kind of agency away from women characters are choices the author made. It doesn't have to be that way. But people who don't read fantasy assume, and will tell you, that those derivative worlds are all fantasy is, and they are wrong.

The not so secret key to fantasy is that your secondary world can be anything you want, and there are an inspiring and astonishing variety of worlds out there.

I'm going to talk briefly about three of them.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

All three are secondary world fantasy novels with magic, all three were published last year, all are critically acclaimed and have been on various genre award lists. All three are examples of stories that would not be the same if they were removed from the context of their created worlds.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin takes place in a world where catastrophic seismic disturbances are commonplace. These disturbances literally destroy and remake the large portions of the landscape periodically, and it's a struggle for the various peoples who live on this planet to survive, and retain some grasp of the history of their world. There are people who are born with a kind of magic who can control these seismic disturbances. You'd think that would solve everything, but people being people, that is not what happens. As the book goes on we see more and more evidence that parts of their history have been deliberately concealed to manipulate their society.

The worldbuilding is told in what I would call a very spare style. We don't learn a lot about what people are wearing or what they eat. There isn't the abundance of lush material culture detail we see in other fantasy novels. The pace is fast, and we learn what this society is like by the way various characters are treated, what happens to them when they conform, and what happens to them when they resist. We're getting a glimpse of the history of this world, and it's that history and the radical changes that the world has undergone that help drive the plot. Through the worldbuilding we begin realize that there is a mystery at the heart of this world and the characters are just beginning to uncover it.

It's an example of the fact that fantasy secondary worlds don't have to be static, don't have to be pre-technological. All worldbuilding should drive the plot and the story, and this is a great example of that idea in action.

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson is a short novel that was published as a novella, but which packs a huge amount of worldbuilding into a high concept, intense story. It's set in a place somewhat based on medieval Africa, with huge trading cities like Axum in Ethiopia or Benin City, but it's entirely original. As the story goes on, we realize the main character's magic is based on real science, in that he's magically manipulating his environment based on scientific principles. It's a short book, but the descriptions, the language, is intense and vivid. The author uses the main character's memories of his past to fill in detail as the characters travel to their destination. You have this world in your head in full color, and it's fascinating.

It's an example of how you can have all the swords and fighting and adventure and magic you want, without having to set it in the same boring rain-soaked taverns of white male faux-England.

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard is set in an alternate world version of late twentieth century Paris, except the world has been all but destroyed by a magical war. Parts of the city are controlled by Great Houses, using magic to protect their dependents and maneuver for power. The magical war has been just as devastating for the environment as it has been for the people, and we see a world where the Seine is black with debris and dangerous to even approach the bank. Dying angels occasionally fall to earth from heaven, and their bodies are broken up and sold as part of the magical economy.

It's an example of a fantasy setting that uses a real world place. You can follow the actions of the characters on a map of our Paris, but it's a Paris with magic and a different history. One of the main characters is Vietnamese, brought to Paris to fight in the war, and through his perspective and memories we get some idea of how different the rest of the world is.

This is an example of how to make a real world setting fantastical, and how adding magic and changing history can transform a real world setting.

So in conclusion, your worldbuilding will say as much about you as a person and as an author as any other part of your story. There's very little in the fantasy genre that hasn't already been done, but what makes it unique is you. There are no rules, no guidelines, just choices, made by you.

Past Week(s)

Monday, October 17th, 2016 08:10 am
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
* If you're near College Station, this week on Oct 19, at 4:30, I'll be doing a talk on Worldbuilding and q&a session on publishing in 601 Rudder on the TAMU campus, as part of Cushing Memorial Library's Hal Hall lecture series.

This month we took a brief trip to Galveston Island, and had a great time. We had lots of good food and took the Harbor Cruise boat tour. (If you've ever been there, it's the one that leaves from the Seaport Museum.) It went all the way out of the harbor to the wrecked ship, which I've never seen that close up before. And the dolphins were incredibly active; we usually see a lots in the harbor, but this is the first time I've seen them jumping all the way out of the water. It was like Sea World, but consensual.

Also went up to Dallas for a fun library event, and got to visit my family in the evening. At home, I painted our stairwell, which has been painted since we moved in, and not completely then, since there was no way to do it. I had to use a 19 foot extendable pole with a roller screwed into the end. It worked, but it was heavy and kind of an exhausting few hours.

Oh, I got to watch all of Luke Cage, which was excellent. I really loved the music in the club. I don't want to say much about it because of spoilers but it was much better than Daredevil, and very different in tone to Jessica Jones.


Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 07:49 am
marthawells: (Reading)
* Dreamdrifter by Alycia Christine
Katja's skinshifting abilities are becoming more powerful, and more dangerous. A rare madness is overtaking the werecat's mind, making her more savage and unpredictable with each full moon.

* Story: The Dragon's Tears by Aliette de Bodard

* Story: The Boy Who Would Not Be Enchanted by A.M. Dellamonica

* The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica
Marine videographer and biologist Sophie Hansa has spent the past few months putting her knowledge of science to use on the strange world of Stormwrack, solving seemingly impossible cases where no solution had been found before.

* Novella: Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw
John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable. He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth.

* Angel Lover by Tricia Skinner
The Nephilim are bound. Their powers cursed. But half-angel Kasdeja will do anything to free them from Heaven's tyranny. When Kas is approached by a striking, mysterious woman, she tells him his greatest enemies hold the key to his freedom.

* Kickstarter: Beyond Victoriana
Steampunk Universe: A diverse steampunk anthology featuring aneurotypical and disabled characters.

My Books

* The paperback of The Edge of Worlds is now up for preorder at B&N, Amazon and other retailers. It'll be out in April. (Hardcover, audiobook, and ebook are already available.)

* The hardcover of The Harbors of the Sun, the last Raksura book, is now up for preorder at Amazon.
marthawells: (Default)
I have two library events coming up:

* This weekend in Dallas, TX: Saturday, October 8, 2016, at 2:00.
I'll be on a panel for Indie Author Day at the J. Erik Jonsson Dallas Central Library.

* College Station, TX: October 19, 2016, at 4:30 pm.
I'll do a talk on worldbuilding and a Q&A session in 601 Rudder on the TAMU campus as part of the Hal Hall Lecture Series sponsored by Cushing Memorial Library and Archives.


* Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

* Story: The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin

* Cloundbound by Fran Wilde
With the Towers in disarray, without a governing body or any defense against the dangers lurking in the clouds, daily life is full of terror and strife. Nat, Kirit's wing-brother, sets out to be a hero in his own way--sitting on the new Council to cast votes protecting Tower-born, and exploring lower tiers to find more materials to repair the struggling City.

* Clockbreakers by Kate Ristau
On her eleventh birthday, Charlie receives a key to go back in time. But time travel isn’t easy. Before she blows out her candles, Charlie lands in Greece with her best friend Maria and her former best friend Trent. She’s a Clockbreaker, stuck in a Greek myth, on an action-packed adventure with a mission: to save her father, and perhaps even save the world.

* The Sparrow in Hiding by J. Kathleen Cheney
Evgeny is hiding from a witch. With the help of his younger sister, he’d survived the witch’s curse, but in the aftermath, he was left with only one arm, eyes that appear inhuman, and an ability to see the truth in others’ souls.

* Star's End by Cassandra Rose Clarke
When Esme comes of age and begins to take over the business, she gradually discovers the reach of her father’s company, the sinister aspects of its work with alien DNA, and the shocking betrayal that estranged her three half-sisters from their father. After a lifetime of following her father’s orders, Esme must decide if she should agree to his dying wish of assembling her sisters for a last goodbye or face her role in her family’s tragic undoing.


Please consider supporting my friend Beth Loubet. She has needs the supplement to her income to make ends meet and really wants to get back into fiction writing. This is one of those times where if a bunch of people gave $1.00 per month, it would really make a big difference for someone.

More Books

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 07:29 am
marthawells: (Reading)
* Comic Take a Chance by C.E. Murphy and Ardian Syaf
Driven to save lives after her son's murder, Frankie Kemp has spent years as a non-powered vigilante whom the police choose to overlook, but when a virus releases super-powered potential in much of the population, "Chance" is left to face her child's shadow-sliding killer with nothing more than her wits and experience. Her friend and police detective Darius Murkowski suspects Frankie is getting involved with things she shouldn't, but can't prove it yet, and Chance encounters "superhero" Tazer--a newly-powered man whose good intentions considerably outstrip his ability in a fight.

* Comic Sun Dragon's Song by Joyce Chng and Kim Miranda
More than anything, young Ho Yi wishes to become a Sun Dragon Rider, the courageous human guardians of the magnificent beasts that roam the sky and keep watch over the land. But confined to crutches, bullies giving him a hard time, and his parents being away at war, Yo Hi is up against almost impossible odds! Can he still keep hope alive, while suffering in his tiny village, to become the valiant hero only he feels he's destined to become?

* Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An LGBT and two-spirit sci-fi anthology
Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman undergoing an experimental transition process to young lovers separated through decades and meeting in their own far future. These are stories of machines and magic, love and self-love.

* The Family Plot by Cherie Priest
In The Family Plot, Dahlia Dutton and her salvage crew are given a last ditch job to wreck and salvage an especially tantalizing property. Ignorant of the house and Withrow family’s history, the crew soon find themselves haunted by a multitude of spirits. At first, the spirits are content to scare and pester, but as Dahlia uncovers more of the secrets the house has held for nearly a century, something dark and violent emerges ― something that has squared all its rage on Dahlia Dutton alone.

* Dragons in the Earth by Judith Tarr, Book I of Horses of the Moon
After a particularly unfortunate session, Claire gets one last chance to keep her home and her livelihood. A small herd of horses needs a place to live and a person to care for them. But these are no ordinary horses. They represent an old, old breed, the rarest in the world, and they protect an ancient and terrible secret. And something is hunting them. The ranch is a perfect sanctuary. The powers that live on and under and above it can protect the horses–if Claire can control them. But first she has to control her own abilities, and learn to believe in herself.

* The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

Article: The Invisible Women by Liz Barr
Statistics aren’t my thing, but I’m pretty certain that if we run the numbers, that “female domination of science fiction awards of late” will tally out at roughly 30%.
marthawells: (Teyla)
Book quotes I’ve been posting on Twitter for Book Quote Wednesday

Links and Books

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 07:55 am
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
* My reading and interview for the Pixel Project is online at I talked a little bit about the time I was stalked in college. And remembering how just about every girl I knew at that time had a similar story. I barely mentioned it, and I think it gave me a nightmare last night. Not that anything violent happened, just that feeling of not being able to trust the people around you.

They also have an Indiegogo ( to help raise funds to fight violence against women, with great book prizes.


* Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.

* The Reader by Traci Chee
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

* Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
The thrilling sequel to the Hugo and Nebula-winning Binti. It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

* The Hate U Give by A.C. Thomas
A novel inspired by Black Lives Matter. Excerpt:

* The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre
Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame.

* Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Ocean breeze in her hair and sand between her toes, Anise can’t wait to spend the summer before her senior year surfing and hanging out on the beach with friends. Santa Cruz is more than her home―it’s her heart. But when her aunt, a single mother, is in a serious car accident, Anise must say goodbye to California to help care for her three young cousins.

* Article: A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction by Nisi Shawl

* Readers of the Lost Arc: 1990s by Courtney Schafer
A sampling of under-read SFF treasures. She says nice things about my second novel, City of Bones

City of Bones by Martha Wells (pub date 1995)
Wells mixes SF and fantasy elements in City of Bones to excellent effect, combining a post-apocalyptic stone desert populated by a bioengineered race with a richly described and dangerous city with laws enforced by mages. My favorite part of the book, though, has to be Wells's characters. Protagonist Khat (one of the bioengineered krismen) is smart, dryly sarcastic, and has a fascinating backstory. Co-protagonist Elen, who is one of the city's Warders, is likewise smart and determined, plus she’s forthright in a way that plays very nicely off the more reserved Khat. The story is standalone—though I sure wish Wells would one day write more!—and offers an archaeological mystery alongside exciting action and magic. Originally published by Tor, now it’s been republished in ebook form by Martha herself. If you enjoy adventure SF/fantasy, it’s a must read.

It me!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 07:55 am
marthawells: (Miko)
So yesterday this happened: I got invited to be the toastmaster at World Fantasy Convention 2017 in San Antonio next year.

I've been guest of honor at a couple of local cons, but never anything this big, so I'm happy but super freaked out.

New Book Wednesday

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 09:26 am
marthawells: (Reading)
* An interview with Foz Meadows Her new book is An Accident of Stars

* Short story: The Robot Who Couldn't Lie by Sunil Patel

* Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eeking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her.

* The Gate to Futures Past by Julie Cznerneda
Betrayed and attacked, the Clan fled the Trade Pact for Cersi, believing that world their long-lost home. With them went a lone alien, the Human named Jason Morgan, Chosen of their leader, Sira di Sarc. Tragically, their arrival upset the Balance between Cersi’s three sentient species. And so the Clan, with their newfound kin, must flee again.

* Gods of Nabban by K.V. Johansen
The fugitive slave Ghu has ended the assassin Ahjvar's century-long possession by a murderous and hungry ghost, but at great cost. Heir of the dying gods of Nabban, he is drawn back to the empire he fled as a boy, journeying east on the caravan road with Ahjvar at his side.

* Everfair by Nisi Shawl
Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

* Of Sand and Malice by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Çeda, the heroine of the novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this prequel, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf; none but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.
marthawells: (Zoe)

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, at 7:30 CST I’ll be doing an online reading and an interview as part of The Pixel Project’s Read for Pixels Fall Edition to help raise funds to fight violence against women.

They also have an Indiegogo ( with great book prizes going on now, including:

$60 USD Martha’s Special Blend Bundle!
Acclaimed Fantasy author Martha Wells has a very special goodie bundle for Fantasy fans - she is giving away three (3) “Special Blend” bundles featuring the latest RAKSURA book, EDGE OF WORLDS and a special “Indigo Cloud” tea blend to go with it. Donate to get it now and you’ll soon be cozily curling up with a book and some lovely hot tea as the weather gets cold!

The Pixel Project is a virtual, volunteer-led global 501©3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women (VAW) using the power of the internet, social media, and pop culture/the arts.
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
You can now preorder the hardcover of The Harbors of the Sun at Amazon US, Chapters Indigo, Books a Million, Amazon UK, and Indiebound. The ebook will show up for preorder closer to the release date.


A former friend has betrayed the Raksura and their groundling companions, and now the survivors must race across the Three Worlds to rescue their kidnapped family members. When Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout, they quickly encounter an unexpected and potentially deadly ally, and decide to disobey the queens and continue the search alone. Following in a wind-ship, Jade and Malachite make an unlikely alliance of their own, until word reaches them that the Fell are massing for an attack on the Reaches, and that forces of the powerful Empire of Kish are turning against the Raksura and their groundling comrades.

But there may be no time to stage a rescue, as the kidnapped Raksura discover that their captors are heading toward a mysterious destination with a stolen magical artifact that will cause more devastation for the Reaches than anything the lethal Fell can imagine. To stop them, the Raksura will have to take the ultimate risk and follow them into forbidden territory.

The paperback of The Edge of Worlds can be preordered at Barnes and Noble and Amazon and all the other Amazons.

Cover Reveal!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 03:04 pm
marthawells: (Default)


The cover reveal for The Harbors of the Sun is at with a bonus interview.

The gorgeous art is by Yukari Masuike

ETA: and it's now available for preorder in hardcover!


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