the Little Red Reviewer

Esen’s Back! A guest post from Julie Czerneda! And a Give Away!

Posted on: April 25, 2018

photo credit Roger Czerneda Photography

My friends,  it is my honor to be hosting Julie Czerneda today (and tomorrow!).  Julie’s science fiction starts with biology, asks a wild  biology “what if” question, and fills the answer with science, more science, humor, aliens, and fantastic characters.   Way back when, she wrote a science fiction trilogy featuring the shape shifter Esen.  Esen discovers humans, and well, erm, to tell you anymore would spoil the best parts!  This trilogy was recently lovingly reprinted in trade paperback, and there’s a new novella coming out this autumn, and OH YEAH a whole new Esen novel, also out this autumn!

Today and tomorrow feature Give aways!  Cover reveals! Behind the scenes! Inside jokes!  but before we get to all that goodness:

Julie on Amazon

Julie’s fan page on Facebook

About the author:

For over twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. Julie’s written fantasy too, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Julie’s edited/co-edited numerous award-winning anthologies of SF/F, most recently SFWA’s 2017 Nebula Award Showcase. Out this fall is an all-original anthology written by fans of her Clan Chronicles series: Tales from Plexis. Her finale to that series, To Guard Against the Dark, was released in 2017. This fall will also see the return of her most beloved character, Esen the webshifter, in Search Image.

 

 

 Esen’s Back!

by Julie Czerneda

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Fans of her Blobness! New-to-her Readers!

It gives me the biggest of grins to mark the return and perhaps introduce to you my favourite character of all, Esen-alit-Quar. Esen for short, Es in a hurry or between friends.

In honour of the occasion, we’re throwing a two day cover release party!  Thanks, Andrea! Thanks DAW Books!

Today, I’ll tell you a bit about Esen and why she’s so beloved. And fun. And remarkable.

Tomorrow, you’ll see, for the very first time, not one, but TWO NEW COVERS! Really, it’s almost too much fun. Nah. There’s never too much fun.

Here’s a sneak peek.

But wait, there’s more! GIVEAWAYS! Details below, but my thanks to DAW Books for not only keeping Esen’s stories in print, but in doing these gorgeous Trade Editions, released just last year! In stores all over.

Cover art by Luis Royo

 

So Who Is Esen? Or What?

Short answer? A blob of blue, shaped like a teardrop. Who happens to be a semi-immortal shapeshifter. Who has really good intentions…but is working on her life skills.

Writing Esen’s attempts to protect life in the universe–or at least keep it civil–makes me happy and always has. As it turned out, Esen made you happy too, dear readers. I’ve received more feedback and love from you for the Dear Little Blob than for all my other work combined.

For those unfamiliar with my work, I’m a biologist by training, an optimist by preference, and have been writing the stories I want to read for quite a while now, thanks to Sheila Gilbert and DAW Books. If you read and enjoy my other SF, you’ll find Esen’s stories funnier, with more aliens and their worlds, but with no less — and sometimes more — heart. I came across this email from Tanya Huff the other day, about Esen’s first book. “…this was so much fun. It reminded me of all the reasons why I started reading SF in the first place.” Yup. Grinning.

Writing Esen comes easiest of all for me. She’s my vacation. It’s not only the joyful mayhem of her approach to the universe. The explosions. The slime. Esen’s my opportunity to share the weirdest and most wonderful things about real biology on this world. Whatever amazes me ends up in her stories. (Instead of around our kitchen table to dismay guests. Okay, both.)

Trust me, I take the biology very seriously, and the physics of how she can change, but when you’ve a main character who has to deal with being something else—and never chooses wisely? It’s a joy and a romp and, yes, she does blow up under stress. (Take another look at the book covers. That’s Esen, every time.)

Is it fun? I think so. With tenderness as well as wonder. My underlying theme throughout is the value of friendship. The first scene I ever wrote with Esen dealt with its fundamental importance and, while there’s a fairly large and often hilarious dose of “if only you had my–insert appropriate sensory organ–you’d understand me” interplay, what Esen learns about being a good friend and having them matters most.

After all, she’s new to all this.

Allow me to digress. Esen began with a big idea.

The Big Idea

As a grad student, long enough ago, I jotted notes for what would become A Thousand Words for Stranger. In that story and the series it became, I set out to speculate on a critical what if question concerning the evolution of communication systems in reproductive behaviour. (Which took me the nine books of the Clan Chronicles to do. In a fun far future setting with aliens, because I liked that.)

I also helped teach the ecology and animal behaviour undergrad courses. One day, to illustrate the difference in reproductive strategies between say squids and elephants, I drew for my students the graph of number versus time. (Google “R K graph” if you’d like a whole bunch of them.) If you’re an R-strategist like squid, you fling masses of tiny offspring into the world at once and, well, leave. Job done. Very few survive, but enough do to continue the species. Tiny investment for you, decent return, but you don’t live for long. If you’re a K-strategist like elephants, or humans, you do live a long life. You produce very few offspring but pour on the parental care. For years and years. And years. If you do it well, most of your offspring survive, but it takes almost all you have. Huge investment for you, decent return.

And if you’re a grad student studying too late one night, you take your graph and a ruler and extend the longevity line from elephant to infinity. Have that sf-ish bent? You put a dot on that line somewhere before infinity and do your utmost over the next few nights to figure out how such an organism might exist. Ta da! I’d my Web-beings.

Not that they’d a name then, but I’d the notion. To be alive and the next best thing to functionally immortal, my aliens needed to modify their bodies at the molecular level. Remove aged cells. Prune out disease. It would take energy. Hmmm. What about an environment with, perhaps, no competition, but with energy streaming through for the taking. Say, space.

So much fun! It was almost an offhand thought that if they could remember their own shape in such exquisite detail, in order to modify it, their substance held their memories. (A wild speculation then. As it turns out, not so much now! Who knew?) They’d exchange memory by taking bites of one another. Nice! From there, not a leap to have them change their shape. Take on another. Perfect memory, insanely long life span, almost no reproduction at all. I decided there’d be, hmm, six of them in known space. A Web.

What really mattered to me then?

What would they do with all their time?

Keep in mind, I’m never bored. I can’t really fathom it. Thus an angst-filled, listless, bitter immortality? Not an option. So, if you’d perfect memory, why not collect things worth remembering? And who’d be busy in the universe doing memorable things? Short-lived species like us. Ephemerals. With our spaceships and civilizations and art and chocolate and sex…

I decided then and there to write about such beings. As long and as often as I could. And who’d be the most interesting of them all?

The new kid. The one who’d, for the best of reasons, would make the biggest mistake in the history of her kind. She’d befriend a Human and reveal the Web’s existence.

Esen came into being right then and there, fully formed in my head. As I considered her, I realized whatever new form Esen or the others take, is them. Individual. Unique. As a Human, the eldest of them, Ersh, is an extremely old woman. Esen?

Not telling. I will say that Esen’s choice of form is regularly fraught with unforeseen consequences. Biology, as Ersh would say, rules us all.

It’s been ridiculous joy writing Esen into her problems ever since.

If you’re new to her, I suggest you start with Beholder’s Eye, even though I wrote each book to stand on its own. These are more complete “this week’s adventures” than my other series. That said, the final paragraph of her first book is the very first I wrote of her. Unchanged from those days in the lab.

I think it says a great deal about what Esen is, and in what I believe.

Friendship.

Give away!

DAW Books is graciously offering three sets of trade paperbacks of the Web Shifters trilogies!

Sorry all my international and interstellar friends, this give away is US/Canada only. To enter, leave a post below along with some way for me to get a hold of you if you win – your e-mail, your twitter, your facebook, etc. This give away runs from Wednesday April 25th until 11:59pm (Eastern Time) Tuesday May 8th.  So many books to win! and oh yeah, there will be MORE GIVE AWAYS TOMORROW!

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129 Responses to "Esen’s Back! A guest post from Julie Czerneda! And a Give Away!"

Haaaaaaaa I started reading your post and suddenly realised I had the first book in my shelf, bought two years ago after reading a recommendation post on nice sff novels!! I’m even more excited to get to read this now !!

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These books sound great! I hope I win! –This widget should have my email address, but wordpress/”gravatar” screws things up, so just in case you could contact my twitter, socialjsmith, if no email is apparent to you.

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Thanks, John! Good luck!

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I have read this series of books so many times they finally fell apart. Now I have them on my nook, so that is no longer a problem. Cant wait for the new additions.

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Yay!!!! Thanks, Garth. Hope you enjoy just as much or more!

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I have all of the Essen books already and have pre-ordered the new one but I would love to win the books so I could give them to my friend Sue, I already introduced her to Julie”s fantasy novels and I’m sure she would love Essen as much as I do.

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Book Presents are the bestest! Good luck, Gigi!

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This is fantastic! I’ve never read any of Esen’s stories and I’d love the chance. Please enter me in the giveaway. My twitter is @Jasonats or reach me at offthetbr@gmail.com

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The twitter should be @jasonats in case that capitalization messes things up.

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Victoria and I do not need to win, as we have the full set, but congratulations and we can’t wait to see more of The Blob.

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Thanks to you both! And you might change your minds tomorrow.

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Looking forward to reconnecting with Esen!! I would love to share her with my brother. He borrows books, but is careful not to take my signed treasures. oh…and you know how to contact me. 🙂

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Yay for spreading the Ooze! (And you do know it’s not me who needs to contact you about this, right?)

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I’m dying to read Esen’s stories, your guest post, Julie, has completely sold me! Thank you for an awesome giveaway opportunity😁

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Hurray! I’m extremely fortunate to have DAW as my publisher–and to have such amazing bloggers as Andrea support me too! Good luck!

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Very excited for new Esen stories! I’ve been reading Julie’s work since we met hundreds of years ago at a Toronto Trek convention. Thanks for entering me in the give away!

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Centuries of happy times! Thanks, Scott, and good luck.

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I adore Esen! She’s one of my all time favorite characters. I love it that she makes mistakes. Please do not enter me into the contest. I’ve given away all my paper books.

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Love These books… I borrow most books from my local library, I must admit I have borrowed these books twice to reread them. I would proudly display them on my shelves at home and then read them again whenever I wanted. I welcome you to discover this great adventure!

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Hurray for Library Esens! Thanks Troy, and good luck.

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I can’t wait for Esen’s new adventures!

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I’ll admit to being pretty excited myself to learn what you and other readers think, Michelle. One of my favourite parts was looking at what Esen’s done in the past, and having some of those moments ::ahem:: recur?

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Hmmm… a Christmas celebration perhaps? With spurl? Lol 🍺

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Please enter me to win this wonderful prize

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I do so love Esen. Looking forward to what trouble she gets into this time!

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You know it’ll get messy… And thanks!

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I have all three…but very old, would like new copies. Love all the books! I think you have my email and I know I am friends on FB–Lee Dalzell

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Good luck, Lee! The trade editions are lovely to hold and read.

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I’ve been following you on Facebook for sometime, but with a huge “to read” pile, I only just starting to read your books last week. Why did I wait so long? I’m usually more of a fantasy fan than sci-fi, but you write such good aliens. I’m throughly enjoying The Clan Chronicles, and Esen is next in the the “to read” list. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do 🙂

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Yay! I’m always happy to hear someone’s starting to read me, Patty. Thanks! Enjoy enjoy.

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I enjoyed the Clan books I read, but these sound even more appealing (is that possible?). Yes, please to the giveaway. It’s rkr10 at comcst dot net. Thank you, Julie, and DAW.

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Thanks! I love them both, but Esen makes me smile all the time. (Cry on occasion, but that’s life too.) I look forward to your reaction! Good luck and our pleasure.

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Esen is my favorite character ever, and I love the friendships in your books.

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Thank you, Anna. That means a great deal!

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I’ve heard Esen spoken of many times, but never knew anything about the series, making it the one series of yours I haven’t yet indulged. And now that I’ve had a glimpse into her world, it sounds right up my alley. What better time to start than with the release of a new book.

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Yay! It’s sometimes hard for me, and Esen readers from the start, to know what to say beyond THE BLOB! Which admittedly isn’t a great deal to go on for a new reader. Hope you enjoy, Natalie.

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I tried to click ‘like’, but it wouldn’t let me – so here’s a happy face instead 🙂

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YAYAAYAYAY!!!!!!!

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Muppet arm flail right with you, Scott!

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I’ve missed Esen’s adventures and am really looking forward to her new ones. I’ll have to go back and reconnect with the original three books.

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I’m so excited for the new Esen books! I’m actually rereading Beholders Eye for the millionth time at the moment. 🙂

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SQUEE! Thanks! I’ll admit, I love the part where she’s about to freeze, then lands in a glorified fish tank. One of #Esen’s finer moments.

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Commenting to enter! My email is abrownie@buffalo.edu.

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Good luck! You might be interested to know the Esen books have been used at Alfred State University, not so far away.

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I am so glad Essen is back

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Thanks, Susan! Me too 😉

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Love all Julie’s books

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How wonderful! Thanks, Sally. ::happybounce:: Good luck!

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Good to hear there is to be more Esen stories. I loved “Beholder’s Eye”, but lost my copy a number of years ago during a break-up. Please include me in the chance to win the volumes. My e-mail is Rostov@wi.rr.com. Thank you and please, keep writing.

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I promise. I’m having way too much fun to stop now! And good luck, Timothy.

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I’m so excited to read more about Esen. I love the feeling of the books and that so much revolves around friendship, with a large dose of humor. Both of which I feel are often under-used in much SFF. I’ll avoid saying more so as not to spoil things for those who haven’t read them yet. Esen books are on my “comfort reads” list because they’re just fun and satisfying. And of course, all the fun biology! 😉

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Thanks, Elizabeth! Good luck on the giveaways. I’ve a feeling you’ll continue to enjoy. There’s garden rot, after all!

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Looking forward so much to the new Esen story, Julie! Now I have to go back and re-read the first three. It’s been too many years. Es is definitely my favorite character of yours.

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Thanks, Wayne. That means a great deal. Hugs!

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While Mac and company hold a special place in my heart, the Trade Pact series are my favourite, though Nights Edge is a close second. I hate to admit this but I still have yet to read the full Web Shifters series.

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MIKE! Great to see you here. I hope you enjoy where Esen’s story goes.

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I would love a copy!

My email is brownie2@buffalo.edu. My Dad, above, is a professor at UB and I’m a former student, so we each have a UB email address. We do not live in the same household.

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And you should definitely have your own books! Good luck!

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Thank you for saying so!

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I am soooooooo looking forward to Esens new adventures! Of all you characters she and Paul are my favorites.

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Thanks, Hal. I’m very very happy to give you a firm date instead of “trust me, there’ll be more” at last! You’ve been patient.

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Fingers crossed! wilbakz@aol.com is my email

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Reblogged this on Dispatches from Obscurity and commented:
Julie Czerneda returns to my favourite of her characters; Esen-alit-Quar. Esen for short, Es in a hurry or between friends. Looking forward to getting the new stories this fall. In the meantime, I’ll be returning to the original three.

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Thanks, Mark. Most appreciated. The Dear Little Blob is a charmer, isn’t she?

Liked by 1 person

Esen is my second favorite fictional character in any work of fiction (sorry, Huido is my absolute favorite)! Julie, your sf is pure, fun, beautifully written, innovative, mind bending. I cannot wait for the next Esen adventure.

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Huido is hard to top, I agree, though I suspect you’ll enjoy Lambo soon! Thank you for your very kind words, Judy. Good luck!

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Esen’s my favourite – read her adventures to my kids, too. Can’t wait for more episodes!

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That’s amazing! I love the idea that you’ve read the books aloud. Wonderful, Ioana. Thanks!

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Would love to win these books! I am always looking for Canadian authors to enjoy. Nothing beats holding a real book in your hand while you read!

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Thanks, Terry! Great to hear and good luck!

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Thanks Juiie for all the fantastic books you have written over the years. I always look forward to a new book by you!!!!!!!!!!!

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::beams:: Delighted to see you here, Cally! And thank you!

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I thoroughly enjoy reading and rereading you books, especially Esen’s books.
I also enjoyed meeting you in person at a Chicago Con and sharing a couple of meals with you and my Mom.
Another thing that I remember is you telling us the correct way to pronounce your last name. Those instructions have come in handy pronouncing some of the names that I come across at work.
Thanks.

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Hi Krista! Delighted to see you here and hope our paths cross again soon. (It’s a fun name to know, isn’t it? Like a secret password.) Good luck!

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YAY! Esen has always been such fun! Always been one of my go-to “gateway books” when introducing new readers to JEC. Pick me, pick me! ❤ ❤
Little Red, my FB is Lyn SE.

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Good Luck, Lyndsay! I love the idea of Esen being how you lure readers to me. Bravo! Thanks!

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Thank you for this give away! I’ve loved the Clan Chronicles, adored Night’s Edge, and hold Species Imperative dearest in my heart. The biology is always my favorite part. I have not read Esen’s story, and have been waiting for just the right time … this feels like the right time. It would be fun to win the trade books so I can get a head start for the new book for fall! If not, there will be a JC book buying session … again lol! Thank you again 🙂 cdassler@verizon.net

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PS … I call those my Julie Czerneda “Series Imperative” book buying sessions …

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Happy Author Blissful Sigh of Joy…
Thanks, Cathy! Our pleasure to share, believe me. And oh, if biology’s your fav? You haven’t seen anything yet, till you delve into Esen.

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I’m intrigued, I had not heard of these books before but they sound really fun and interesting!

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Glad you think so, Ezzie! That’s the joy of all this, to show Esen to those who might have missed her in the past.

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OMG, I love you and I love Luis Royo. A combo better than peanut butter and chocolate? I’m not gonna say no, lol. 😀

veritaschristoetecclesiae@yahoo.com

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Yay!!!! Did you know my first novel featured Luis’ first cover for DAW?

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Beholder’s Eye was the first book of yours I read, and I was in the middle of writing up my Master’s thesis. Esen gave me a mental break from trying to work through the structural geology puzzle that was my thesis. I found the courage to reach out to you and tell you how much I enjoyed the story. I was hooked, and count myself lucky enough to have gotten to know you a bit over the years.

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We’re fortunate to know you too, Kim. Good luck on the draw and may our paths cross again soon!

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So happy Esen is back. She is a delight!

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Thank you! That’s how I think of her too. Good luck!

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Searching my bookshelves, I read these years ago. Thanks for reminding me of Esen.

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Funnily enough, Jamie, that’s the deepest joy of all this for me. Remind folks of her blobness–and the fun she brings!

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Please enter me in the drawing.I’m excited for the new book(s)! Rick

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I would love trade paperbacks (I won an old contest years ago to make an alien species for one of the books)! email is lordavon @ gmail dot com

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I remember! And a wonderful species it was. Good luck Kris!

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One of my favorites!!! I can’t believe we’re getting more. 😀

This should link to my website, so if I’m a lucky winner please hit me up with a comment on there.

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Tee hee! Always the plan. My editor-dear is a fan of Esen too! Delighted you’re happy, Niki. Good luck.

Liked by 1 person

Web shifter another.extra@yahoo.com
Love this series, usually get from library

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Libraries are great, but appendages crossed you win your own set!

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Hello there. Your stories sound amazing.

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Hi! Thank you. I can say I have fun with them, make myself cry on occasion, but am always smiling at the end.

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Esen is one of the reasons I became a massage therapist!

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Amazing!!! Nimal-Ket would be proud.

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I have no idea how I have lived so long in the world and not come across the Web Shifter books!!! I have just ordered The Beholder’s Eye as recompense to myself … I. can’t. wait. 😀 😀

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I ordered a copy last week, it just arrived! doesn’t this series sound fun?

Liked by 1 person

That’s so cool! And, yes, so fun! I can’t wait to read it … 😀

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Thank you!!! SQUEEE!!! I’m delighted you’ll meet Esen. She’s a fun one to hang around with–goo and all.

Liked by 1 person

Oh my gosh, these books (and all the work you’ve put into creating your web shifters) sound amazing!!

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Thank you! A labour of love, I assure you.

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On Twitter: @thesoursavior

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Julie, thanks so much for your books. They are a tremendous gift to us all.

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Thank you, Mike. ::happyauthorbounce:: Nothing inspires me more than hearing readers have enjoyed.

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Wow, what a great opportunity! I would love to read this series.

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Good luck, Sethia! Hope you enjoy.

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Very interested in this series.

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Delighted to hear that, William. Good luck!

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Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
NEW LITERATURE TO ME! CHECK OUT THE GIVE-AWAY!

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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