Science Fiction Books I Look Forward to Reading in 2021

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Remote Control

by Nnedi Okorafor

An alien artifact turns a young girl into Death’s adopted daughter in Remote Control, a thrilling sci-fi tale of community and female empowerment from Nebula and Hugo Award-winner Nnedi Okorafor

“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”

Nnedi Okorafor writes African Futurism, and I’m here for it. I discovered Okorafor through a friend, who knew I liked N.K. Jemisin and Octavia Butler’s books. They said I had to read Binti. I loved it so much, I nominated it for my book club to read. They loved it, too.
I liked the way the main character used her mind and saw similarities between her family and the jellyfish-like aliens. A harmonizer indeed. I read all the books in that series and then went on to read the much darker, but poignant Who Fears Death.

I’m looking forward to reading Remote Control. Okorafor’s prose is so mesmerizing, you don’t know how deep it’s cutting you until you’re sobbing for her characters. Although her work gets gloomy and violent, there’s always a thread of hope lighting the way.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

(Wayfarers #4)

by Becky Chambers

In the Before Times, I went to Worldcon in Dublin. There, I met many authors and discussed many books. Someone suggested The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I’ve been a Becky Chambers fan since.

I like the episodic nature of these books, the slice of space life, and that they’re tied through the world Chambers creates rather than a character. 10/10 recommend.

Fugitive Telemetry

(The Murderbot Diaries #6)

by Martha Wells

I’m going to quote sci-fi author Ann Leckie, “I love Murderbot!”. Wells has successfully made me care about an AI and a ship’s AI. The Murderbot Diaries has it all: a bot addicted to the future’s version of Netflix with a past. The second book introduces a ship that kinda scared me at first because I didn’t know if I should trust it.

What can I say? The name “Dave” said in a certain tone still gives me the chills.

Fortunately, Murderbot Diaries are not about malignant AI. Quite the opposite. Murderbot has suffered severe trauma and memory loss and must piece together their past. I cannot wait to read the next installment of this series.

The book I’m looking forward to the most releasing in 2021 is a book I’ve already read in it’s infancy. Mad Raptor Productions will be publishing Next of Kin by Melinda Mitchell (my critique partner extraordinaire). Next of Kin is a science fiction retelling of the biblical Book of Ruth. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the story, you’ll love this story. I know I do. For the cover reveal and release dates sign up for the Mad Raptor Newsletter here:

What Science Fiction books are you looking forward to in 2021? Post your recommendations in the comments!

©TJ Deschamps

Fantasy Books I Want to Read in 2021

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A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Rose #4)

by Sarah J. Maas

Although Nesta isn’t my favorite character out of the ACoTaR world, but Cassian is. I don’t want Nesta to soften, but I do want her to understand who her friends are. I can’t wait to reenter Maas’s world and see where all the characters are now in their lives.

I like the new covers for the series. I’m not a fan of a character on the front trend. I want to imagine the characters from the author’s description and get a hint what the story is about from the cover.

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)

by Rebecca Roanhorse

Okay, technically this book came out October of 2020, but I started this book this week and it’s worth a mention because holy giant raven riding gods, this book is going to win ALL THE AWARDS (at least in my mind). Black Sun is not a Euro-centric fantasy, or told like one. The story is told from multiple perspectives and switches between the present and the past, yet I’m keeping up with the narrative effortlessly. Black Sun is riveting.
I discovered Roanhorse through her novel Trail of Lightning. I loved her prose. Her writing is, in a word, dope. If you haven’t read her work, you should. Roanhorse is going to be known to future generations as one of the masters of the art of story.

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2)

by Naomi Novik

This book is a sequel to the novel A Deadly Education. The first book was told from the point of view of a girl, who should have been a villain, or at the very least, an antihero, but her actions prove her to be a better person than the chosen one trope. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the aftermath from the first book.

Jade Legacy (The Greenbone Saga 3)

by Fonda Lee

Jade Legacy is the third installment of The Greenbone Saga. If you like the Warrior on HBO Max, the God Father movies, or Kung Fu Theater back in the day, you’re going to love these books. They’re the story of the fictional Kaul family, the heads of the No Peak clan. In Lee’s world, jade is a magical substance that activates superhero abilities in “greenbones” born on Kekon Island. The books are told from the Kaul family members point of view, with interludes into the mythology and history of the fictional world, all related to the layers of plot and intrigue.
I quickly grew attached to the characters and didn’t mind learning all the clan names and motives. The first book made me bawl. The best part of the second book was when (Kaul) Shae fought Ayt Mada. It did not go as I thought it would, but it was one of the best written fight scenes ever.

Jada Legacy is projected to publish in 2021, but there are no preorders up on Amazon yet. These books are so good, so rich, I’m willing to wait another year for the next one.

Also, The Greenbone Saga is going to be a television series:

A Vow So Bold and Deadly

(Cursebreakers #3)

by Brigid Kemmerer

Give me ALL the fairy tale retellings, especially Beauty and the Beast. A Vow So Bold and Deadly is the third and final book in the Cursebreakers series. The first being A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Just by the title, you know you’re going to get some lyrical fantasy prose.

I like these books because they don’t have the same protagonist for each. Protagonists are presented, but it’s hard to tell who I want to root for, and I am here for that kind of story. Not knowing what’s going to happen–if the brothers will ever make peace or let the past destroy them is killing me. I want them to unite against the one who placed the original curse, but Kemmerer wasn’t answering my emails whether she would go through with writing MY ending.

Kidding. I don’t know the author and wouldn’t dream of being so…creepy.

This is a book I’m going to love/hate to pick up.


Warrior Tithe

by T.J Deschamps

My own fantasy novel, Warrior Tithe will be coming out in 2021. It’s a standalone novel, but features the characters Aoife and Fergus (Fagan in the upcoming novel) from Tam Lin: A Modern, Queer Retelling. Here is the synopsis:

Aoife is the daughter of Manannan Mac Lir, God of the Sea and ruler of the seafolk. More importantly, she’s a kelpie, who spends her days bringing mortal evildoers to their watery deaths. How does she know they’re evil? Whatever you imagine, whatever memory pops in your head, she can see it.

Although his charm and looks fooled her at first, her sight is how Aoife discovers she does not want to marry the sorcerer king, Roi. She learns during a battle for her hand that Roi doesn’t lover her let alone value her as a person. He wants to use her sight to gain power. Her sisters help her escape a trap the king and their father lay for Aoife to marry Roi.

Fagan is a peasant, who has lost his family to hard times. After burying the last of his kin, he has nothing left to live for and hope is an ember long gone cold and hard. That is, until he finds a kelpie caught in one of his iron traps. Seeing the poor thing suffer proves his heart is not dead. Fagan decides to save her, even if it means forfeiting his life.

Bound by this act, and for other reasons, the unlikely pair, travel through Scotland to reach the door that leads the Sidhe Queen’s castle. Fagan hopes to become an immortal fae knight and Aoife, a member of the court under Queen Mab’s protection. However, Roi has other plans and won’t let his betrothed get away so easily.

It’s going to be a fun ride! Follow this blog for updates and a cover reveal!

What fantasy novels are you looking forward to in 2021? Post your recommendations in the comments below.

©TJDeschamps 2020

Urban Fantasy Books I Look Forward to Reading in 2021

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Blood Heir (Kate Daniels World Book 1) by Ilona Andrews

In 2020, I read the entire Kate Daniels series, Iron and Magic, the Innkeeper series, and just about everything I could find written by the writing couple who go by the pen name Ilona Andrews. Professors could teach an entire creative writing class using IA’s world building and magic systems, character arcs, dialogue, and actions scenes.
I cannot wait to see what Julie, Kate and Curran’s adopted daughter, is like as an adult, to see her on her own, but I also hope to get a glimpse of Kate and Curran’s life and see what their baby boy is like now.

Keepers & Destinies by Carl F Brothers 

“Armageddon wasn’t a figment of some ancient society’s imagination. It isn’t centuries away, either. It’s on our doorstep. And our fate hinges on a young, overlooked angel who is desperate to prove her worth to Heaven and herself.  
A Guardian Angel, Andrea, journeys to Earth on a mission to find the key to winning the final battle between good and evil. She enlists the help of James, an embattled veteran who is dealing with his own demons from the past. With threats—both human and supernatural—at seemingly every turn, the repercussions of James and Andrea’s alliance is far beyond what they bargained for.
James’ life would be so much simpler if his path diverged from Andrea’s. But he can’t shake the feeling that the impending battle is not only about settling the eons-old score between Heaven and Hell, but also for the rights to his world. Matters are further complicated when he and Andrea discover that she is not merely a chess piece but a central player in the looming apocalypse. 
Time is running out, and the stakes have never been higher. Earth is the prize. The angels already had their turn, and so has mankind. Who’s next?” 

With a cover and blurb like that, who wouldn’t be excited to read this debut author? Technically, this book is already out, but the sequels are coming out this year so it will be a nice to delve into a new world and binge read them all.

The One and Only Crystal Druid (The Guild Codex: Unveiled Book 1)

In 2020, I read Annette Marie’s entire Guild Codex: Spellbound and Demonized series, Steel and Stone series gobbling them up like book candy. Her descriptions and action scenes are vivid and cinematic, not boring dappling light through the leave crap. I suppose it’s because she’s also an artist. Marie does her covers and her Instagram is filled with character art. I love reading and following her work.

I cannot wait for Zak’s story. His backstory intrigues me, and his wayward- mythics-rehab farm endeared me to the character. He didn’t get the girl in the Spellbound series, but he definitely deserves a series of his own.

If you haven’t read any of Annette Marie’s books, get started. You’re in for a ride!

Magical Midlife Love: A Paranormal Women’s Fiction Novel (Leveling Up Book 4)

Technically, this book is Paranormal Women’s Fiction, but that’s just a fancy name for a growing subgenre of Urban Fantasy. The main ingredients for the subgenre PWF which makes this and stories by the Fab13 authors who came up with the category different than typical UF is that the protagonist is a woman in her forties in the middle of a midlife crisis with supernatural or paranormal elements involved.

This series is about a middle-aged woman recovering her life after her divorce and her kid going off to college. She becomes a caretaker of Ivy House, a magical, sentient house, with a hilarious support staff: an aged gargoyle, a vampire past his prime, and a…crap, I forget what Niamh is, but it’s nasty. There’s an alpha, who isn’t an UF “alpha hole” but is definitely an interesting character. The best part about this series is that it is hilarious, magical, and relatable.

Follow this blog or come back tomorrow to read tomorrow’s post for the 2021 Fantasy reads I’m looking forward to.

My own Urban Fantasy book, Eastside Hedge Witch, will debut in 2021. Follow this blog for cover reveals and launch dates. Also sign up for Mad Raptor Productions newsletter for updates on Eastside Hedge Witch and new Urban Fantasy reads coming out this year:

Are you looking forward to any Urban Fantasy books coming out in 2021? Please comment with your recommendations below.

©TJDeschamps 2020

Writer Talk: Planning 2021

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I plan on:

finishing Warrior Tithe by the end of January and hopefully self-publishing it this year.

-working on my editor’s notes (when they come in) for Eastside Hedge Witch & working hard to get it published through @MadRaptorPro this year.

-making Eastside Faerie submission worthy and submitting it.

-finishing and shopping the two short stories I’m working on. If I don’t find a home for them, I’ll put them up on Smashwords.

-supporting #indieauthors by featuring their work in my blog.

-supporting traditionally published authors by beta reading.

-continuing reading and learning to be a better writer and hybrid author.

-learning more about marketing my indie books.

-creating a newsletter to keep fans up to date when all my works will be coming out.

These are my goals. What are your plans for 2021?

©TJ Deschamps 2020

The Little Black Flying Cat

My youngest holding my eldest

Negrito El Gato Volador (the little black flying cat) RIP: 2002-2020

You were a brat sometimes

Knocking things off shelves

Nipping at our ankles

Sneak attacks when we least suspected

You were a sweetheart sometimes

Curling in our laps

Nudging your head into our palms for pets

Cuddling and purring away our tummy aches and tears.

You were a ruler sometimes

Defending your land from invaders

Chasing squirrels and mice

Making awkward noises at those pesky air vermin

You had a cantankerous personality

An introvert who preferred to be together alone

You had a loyal heart

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. 

I suppose I never would.

Rest well, kitty boy.

On Genre: Where Does My Werewolf Story Belong?

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Traditionally, a werewolf in a story earned a book a spot on the shelf of the horror section of a bookstore. However, today there are many genres that include supernatural, potentially monstrous creatures that are not inherently cursed or evil. Categorizing a werewolf story is depends on the plot, not the supernatural creature.

For example, a werewolf murdering at night and the human struggling with the memories during the day would be categorized in the horror genre.

A story about werewolf falling in love and all the plot points revolving around their relationship would be categorized as a paranormal romance. This could be tricky because if the werewolf doesn’t have a happily ever after with their love interest and instead eats them, then we’re back to classifying the story as horror.

A werewolf detective or cop solving crimes is paranormal mystery. But, that’s not always the case. The genre would depend on whether the story is a hardboiled detective novel with a character who happens to be a werewolf or if the plot revolves more around the supernatural world at large with a character who happens to be a werewolf detective.

If you’re looking to go through a traditional publisher, let your agent and publishing house decide. If you’re an indie author looking to self-publish, do a little research and see which books with tropes, world building, and storyline are similar to yours. Finding the right genre is about finding the right audience. You don’t want to market your paranormal romance as a horror story or vice versa. Not unless you don’t mind a lot of angry reviews.

Hope you are all doing well. Happy writing!

©TJ Deschamps

Indie Author Spotlight: Shackle.Exe by Van D Vicious

What is cyberpunk if you don’t have the Haves and the Have Nots, and throw them together for contrast?

The way the books starts, I thought this read would be a lot darker than it was. Don’t get me wrong, Shackle.exe explores characters with addictions: sex, drugs, cyber, etc. placed into situations that constantly summon their personal demons, but the novel is at its heart, a love story. An independent young woman and young man both tied by family loyalties and contractual obligations, who have a natural attraction to each other that’s hard to fight.

Star-crossed lovers with the world, and even themselves against them getting together for a Happily Ever After is one of my favorite tropes. But, as far as tropes go, there’s nothing cliché about this unique world Van D Viscious has set up and I’m not saying there’s an HEA for this story.

I highly recommend this novel and can’t wait to get sucked in to the next episode.

Hope you’re all doing well.

©TJ Deschamps

To have your book considered for a review, post a link in the comments, or contact me via WordPress.

Back Up Your Work: A Cautionary Tale

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Writers like to use different programs to get their work down. Microsoft Word being the most common. I personally switch between Word and Google Docs, but I own Scrivener.

I use Scrivener for the planning stages of a book, the notes, the outline, little character cards, etc. It’s a lot better than my wall looking like a conspiracy theorist’s ravings or an FBI Crime syndicate organization chart, complete with pictures.

The reason I use Google Docs for my drafts, is that writers often get in a zone where all we see is the words in front of us and the world we’re creating. Time and silly things like saving and/or backing up our work has no meaning in this world. However, we’re often surprised when a laptop’s battery drains of all life, or the computer randomly restarts for updates, or we set aside what we’re doing to answer the door, and then we have lost hours of work.

I once lost an entire chapter during NaNoWriMo. I may have cried. My spouse, a director of software reliability, so gently asked, “Did you seriously not back it up? I tell you to save your work all the time.” He may have in his coding days as an engineer, have lamented with me, knowing that beautiful trance that is “The Zone”. But, he’s responsible for a lot of stuff working reliably now, so not saving is an unforgivable faux pas. (Okay. I might be being a little dramatic. He felt bad enough for me to dig out my lost chapter from some recess of my computer’s memory.)

If you’re like me, find a program that automatically saves and save yourself the misery of the lost chapter blues.

Writer Talk: Multiple Projects

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Currently I have three documents open: Eastside Faerie, Warrior Tithe, and a new short story called Galactic Emporium of Delight. I’m working my way through, writing a chapter at a time on each. I have no prescheduled time dedicated to any of them. I do, however, have a time I sit down to write every week day, and I dedicate the time fully to whichever document I start.

While I don’t suggest working on three projects at once, I do like it for myself for three reasons:

  1. I am fully invested when I delve into any of the works in progress. I’m not daydreaming about something else I’d rather write because if I wanted to work on that project, I’d work on it.
  2. I’ll have a lot more material when I finish than if I forced myself to work on one story at a time.
  3. It doesn’t take me longer to finish three projects than one.

Do you work on one project at a time? Share your process in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!


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