* WAKE OF VULTURES is out October 27! If you pre-order it and email your address to whimsydark (at) gmail (dot) com, I'll send you a signed bookplate, temporary tattoo, and other free swag! Here's a list of retailers, or you can order a signed copy from FoxTale, and I'll sign and personalize at the book launch party, and they'll mail it to you, and you can read it or caress it or whatever you wish. Easy!
* The WAKE OF VULTURES launch party is on Saturday, October 24 at 1pm at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, GA, where I'll be joined by two of my favorite authors, Victoria (V.E.) Schwab and Cherie Priest. Books, cake, booze, the spice will flow. More info at the Facebook Event page.
* My rangy scavenger of a book baby has received three starred reviews from trade journals and a sweet review from my dear pals at RT Book Reviews:
* Delilah S. Dawson’s first book under the Bowen name, set in a gritty and well-realized paranormal Wild West, is a warm-hearted winner. Nettie Lonesome, a mixed-race young woman who dresses like a man, has been told all her life that she’s worthless. She runs the failing ranch of a married white couple who treat her like a slave, but her heart lies with the nearby Double TK Ranch, where she trains horses and is welcomed with respect and acceptance. When a man attacks her and she kills him, he turns to sand and her entire world flips upside down. Soon tragedy strikes the men of the Double TK, and Nettie, with the help of enigmatic shape-shifter Coyote Dan and some lawmen who are no strangers to the strange, sets out to find her destiny, as well as a child thief called Pia Mupitsi. The unforgiving western landscape is home to supernatural beasties as diverse as the human inhabitants, and no-nonsense Nettie is pragmatic and brave. Themes of self-worth, gender, and the complexity of identity are treated with frank realism and sensitivity, and the narrative is a love letter to the paranormal western genre. Fantastical history fans will be delighted. ~ Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
* A fantasy set in a Wild West populated by plenty of vicious monsters—and one unwilling heroine.
Nettie Lonesome isn’t a slave. Not exactly. But the people she calls Pap and Mam don’t treat her like their daughter, either. So when a stranger shows up, attacks her, and then poofs into a pile of sand when she stabs him in the chest with a twig, she has no one to turn to with her questions or her fears. And when her friend Monty gives her a chance to join the bronco wranglers at a neighboring ranch, she jumps at the opportunity to change her life. But the hidden world that stranger introduced her to won’t leave her alone, and she soon finds herself on the run from all manner of monsters, trying to live up to a destiny she isn’t too keen on. Nettie is a lively, ornery, unconventional heroine who rises to each fresh challenge with a believable mix of fear and determination. Half-black, half-Indian, and wholly confused about her gender and sexuality, she’s a misfit who has to learn how to trust others—and herself. Debut novelist Bowen has created a fascinating, textured Wild West world. The monsters are gruesome, the battles are bloody, and the pace of this story never flags.
Readers will love this absorbing fantasy adventure (the first in a planned series) and its strong, dynamic heroine. ~ Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
* Bowen’s debut, a fantastical coming-of-age Western, introduces half-Native American, half-African American teenager Nettie Lonesome. Raised by foster parents who treat her like a slave, Nettie learned early on how to take care of herself, and she isn’t too surprised when she can suddenly see monsters no one else seems to notice. Nettie dresses and lives as a man, while working as a ranch hand, and has interests in both men and women, one of many elements that makes this first novel stand far above the usual fantasy crowd. VERDICT Incorporating Native American and Western myths, plus Nettie’s multicultural heritage and characters from a wide range of backgrounds, this is a must-have for all modern fantasy collections and a great choice for adults and teens. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Western-themed fantasies such as Emma Bull’s Territory. ~ Library Journal, Starred Review
Of all the books I’ve reviewed this year, Wake of Vultures’ Nettie Lonesome stands out as the most compelling, well-crafted protagonist I’ve encountered. Bowen gives readers something genuinely special in Nettie. It’s more than the fact that Nettie is a non-white, queer and non-binary lead; she is all of those things, but she’s also a talented bronc breaker, a resourceful survivor and a person with an exceptional destiny. Wake of Vultures is a sublime tale that weaves the central questions of identity into an otherworldly quest, blending it with frightening bits of Comanche lore. It shines in its skillful marriage of paranormal tropes with a relatable emotional core — Bowen’s superlative grasp of both character development and worldbuilding elevates a familiar story to mythic heights.
Nettie Lonesome has lived most of her life in unpaid, thankless service to a couple she calls “Pap” and “Mam,” though they’ve hardly been parents to her. Her brown skin and indeterminate heritage mark her as an outsider in the town of Gloomy Bluebird, and the only pleasure she gets is the slight sense of community at the Double TK ranch, where she breaks horses better than any of the men in town. But Nettie’s whole world is upended when she kills a dark and dangerous supernatural creature. Now, not only can she see the monsters lurking in plain sight — she’s also been conscripted to fight a child-snatching beast known as the Cannibal Owl. As Nettie takes on the mantle of The Shadow, a figure of folklore prophecy, she’ll uncover strange truths about the horrors stalking the West … and discover who she truly is. ~ RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, Top Pick
In short, I hope you'll pick up a copy. Pre-orders are a huge boon to the author's career, so if you're planning on reading it, I hope you'll consider pre-ordering. Kevin Hearne, Rachel Caine, and Charlaine Harris liked it, and they can't be wrong. <3