This week at the Kirkus Review blog, I name my Best Bets for Speculative Fiction Reads for April 2014.

Are these the books that stoke your readerly flame, too?

Check it out!

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What’s Special About Today’s Free Fiction?

  1. Apex Magazine #59 – April 2014
  2. Clarkesworld Magazine #91 – April 2014

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The winner of our giveaway for Lockstep by Karl Schroeder has been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to: Conal O.!

You will be receiving your prize soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-04-03

Interviews & Profiles

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Sabrina Benulis lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and a spoiled cockatiel. When she isn’t writing like a madwoman, you can find Sabrina enjoying old school video games, Japanese anime, and of course a good book. Archon, her debut novel, is the first installment in The Books of Raziel series. Her new book, the sequel, is called Covenant.

A Book Series is A Journey

by Sabrina Benulis

There really is an art to writing novels in a fantasy series, and by now I firmly believe that no matter how many books you read, this is a skill that someone can only firmly acquire through experience. Many times when I’m asked how many novels I’ve been contracted for in The Books of Raziel series and I say ‘three,’ people first congratulate my good fortune, and then they look at me flabbergasted. The next question inevitably is, “So how exactly can you write three books that are all connected?” or better still, “How in the world do you keep track of everything?”

The short answer is: it’s complicated.
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Rhiannon Held! – Sarah Chorn

Rhiannon Held is the author of Silver and its sequel, Tarnished. In her day job, she works as a professional archaeologist. Held lives near Seattle, Washington. You can learn more about her and her books by visiting her website. The third book in her series, Reflected, was published on February 18, 2014.

Unable to Shift

by Rhiannon Held

When I conceived of my character Silver, from the urban fantasy series of the same name, in a lot of ways she was a reaction to the sometimes troublesome idea of the “kickass UF heroine.” I didn’t even think explicitly about making her disabled, I just wanted to reach out to speak to readers in a different way—not the aspiration of somehow magically being so cool and powerful, but the identification with a character who was struggling and succeeding despite obstacles the reader might recognize. I hope that I’ve succeeded and she does speak to people, even if I’m not dealing with a particular obstacle that an individual reader might.

Silver is a werewolf who was injected with silver nitrate. It removed her ability to shift into wolf form, deadened the muscles where she was injected so she can no longer use that arm, and gave her brain damage so she either sees the werewolf spirit realm or hallucinates—depending on who you ask.
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Here’s the table of contents for the new issue of Apex Magazine, a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field.
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MIND MELD: Where Would You Take the T.A.R.D.I.S.?

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

It was the recent Mind Meld on Favorite Convention Panels, combined with the romance of the phrase “All of time and space. Everything that ever happened or ever will…,” that inspired me to ask our panelists this question:

Q: If you could take one trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., where would you go?

Here’s what they said:
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Congratulations to the fine folks behind the Shared Worlds writing program, which this year turns 7!

This year, they’ve got another spectacular lineup of special guests. read on to see!

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Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor’s Blades, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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Here is the table of contents for the January/February 2014 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine (on sale on December 31st):
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Via Super Punch, here’s the synopsis and cover (larger version below) for the upcoming supernatural thriller Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes.

Here’s the synopsis:
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What’s Special About Today’s Free Fiction?

  1. Electric Spec #9.1 – March 15, 2014
  2. Kaleidotrope Spring 2014
  3. Lightspeed Magazine has a serious piece of speculative literary fiction, “The Legend of RoboNinja”, by RoboNinja, Translated by Brooke Bolander
  4. Flash Fiction Online April 2014
  5. Journal of Unlikely Story Acceptances #8.5 – April 1, 2014

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Listen up, readers!

Phoenix Pick has revamped their monthly book deal. The new system is a pay-what-you-want deal. So, you can still get the book for free, but if you feel like ponying up some dough for the entertinment, there is now a mechanism to do so.

Phoenix Pick’s new Book of the Month is Reboots by Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin!

About the Book:

Space travel is tough. No air, cosmic radiation, absolute lack of other life-sustaining essentials.

What better way to deal with space travel than to man ships with creatures that regenerate or don’t need air, or are immune to various maladies?

In a future world where zombies, vampires and werewolves co-exist with ‘normal’ humans on Earth, these ships are staffed by a motley crew of various types of undead or near-dead creatures.

Of course no one really knows what happens when zombies and vampires are squeezed together in the close confines of a spaceship.

Don’t you love surprises?

Mercedes Lackey is a New York Times best selling author with over 80 books in print. She is well known for creating complex multi-cultural worlds inhabited by human and non-human characters. Her acclaimed and best selling series of books related to the Valdemar saga takes place in the intricately woven world of Velgarth. To date there are 27 novels and six anthologies set in this world, and many of these books have become New York Times bestsellers.

Readers may download this book for free or for a nominal price of their choice from April 2nd to to April 30th. So grab it now!

Instructions and download links can be found on Phoenix Pick’s catalogue page.

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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for Irenicon by Aidan Harte…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

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Top 25 SF Signal Posts for March 2014

In case you missed them, here are The Top 30 SF Signal Posts for March 2014 (excluding the much-loved daily link posts and free fiction posts):
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-04-02

Interviews & Profiles

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WINNER: ITCH ROCKS by Simon Mayo

The winner of our giveaway for Itch Rocks by Simon Mayo has been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to: Ray H.!

You will be receiving your prize soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

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Matthew Hughes writes fantasy and suspense fiction. he’s won the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award, and has been shortlisted for the Aurora, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, A.E. Van Vogt, and Derringer Awards. He’s worked as a writer all his adult life, as a journalist, a staff speechwriter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Environment, and as a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia. He’s also a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers. He is the author of several dozen short stories, some of which have been collected in The Gist Hunter and Other Stories (2005) and Nine Tales of Henghis Hapthorn (2013). His novels include Fools Errant, Black Brillion, several novels about a far-futuristic Sherlock Holmesian detective Henghis Hapthorn (Majestrum, The Spiral Labyrinth, and Hespira), The Commons, Template, the To Hell and Back superhero sequence (The Damned Busters, Costume Not Included and Hell to Pay), and Paroxysm. His latest is anotehr collection of short fiction,The Compleat Guth Bandar.

We had the chance to talk to Matthew about his writing, his influences and why his fiction is so damned funny.

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Here’s the synopsis and U.S. cover (larger version below) for Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter!
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