Bookbanter Holiday Giveaway

Tis the season, and here’s a very special Bookbanter holiday giveaway, brought to you by the wonderful, fabulous people at Tor books.

This is a giveaway for a copy of Tor’s three science fiction and fantasy anthologies published in 2013: Dangerous Women edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin (which is fantastic!), The Year’s Best SF 18 edited by David G. Hartwell, and Twenty-First Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. And here are the beautiful covers:

Dangerous Women  SF18  21st Century Science Fiction

So how does the giveaway work, you might ask? You simply have to leave a comment to this post with what your favorite book of 2013 is. The giveaway will run through January 1st, 2014.

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PST on January 1st. Anyone within the US and Canada is eligible to enter.

On January 2nd, 2014 the winner will be randomly chosen and the books will be mailed directly to them.

Happy holidays!

Bookbanter Ebook Giveaway Reminder

It’s the weekend and that means it’s the last couple of days to enter the Bookbanter ebook giveaway for a copy of Pirates of Pensacola by Keith Thomson.  The giveaway will end at 11:59PM Sunday night.  To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on THIS POST, plus you can learn more about the book and the author.

Ebook Giveaway: “Pirates of Pensacola” by Keith Thomson

To enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of Pirates of Pensacola by Keith Thomson, simply leave a comment on THIS POST and you will be entered into the random drawing.  The giveaway contest will last through this week until Sunday, May 19th at 11:59PM Pacific time.  On Monday morning, a 9AM Pacific time I will announce the winner on this blog.

About Pirates of Pensacola:

Pirates of Pensacola tells the tale of Morgan Cooke, a landlubbing accountant whose idea of adventure is throwing darts at the local pub. He has no idea about his piratical heritage until his estranged father Isaac shows up, after spending twenty years in jail, seeking crewmen to help find lost treasure. Morgan is at first reluctant but soon gets into the true adventurous pirate spirit in his genes.

 Unlike in Thomson’s later books there are no spies. But there is plenty of his signature energy, pacing and humor. Pirates of Pensacola is a fun modern-day pirate yarn, a tale of fathers and sons looking for hidden treasure, and  a vividly portrayed adventure salted with lots of pirate and maritime history and, of course, battles.

About the Author:

Keith Thomson has played semi-professional baseball in France and drawn editorial cartoons for Newsday. Now a resident of Alabama, he writes about intelligence and other matters for The Huffington Post.  His novels include the New York Times Best-selling Once a Spy, as well as Twice a Spy and Pirates of Pensacola.  For more information visit

Q & A with Keith Thomson:

Q: You’ve got quite a resume that includes playing semi-professional baseball in France, working as an editorial cartoonist, and writing movie scripts. Why did you decide to write a book?

A: I’d been working as a screenwriter for six years, having sold several scripts, but with just one of them making into production: a horror film—unfortunately, I’d intended it to be a cop comedy. One day I went to LA to get notes on the latest draft of a rewrite I was doing for Paramount. This entailed conference room full of executives telling me what to change, for hours on end. Not the greatest experience, but don’t get me wrong: for what they were paying me, I would have happily cleaned the bathrooms too. After the meeting, while walking to our cars, my agent said to me, “You know, if you wrote a book, no one would change anything.” That night, in my hotel room, I checked out the Stanford Continuing Education website—I was living in Palo Alto at the time—and I saw that there was a novel-writing 101-type class beginning in a week, and signed up. My thesis became Pirates of Pensacola.

Q: What was the inspiration behind Pirates of Pensacola?

A: I grew up in a coastal Connecticut town. As a kid, I used to stare out to see in hope of meeting the notorious real-life pirate William Thompson—an ancestor of mine, I thought. He spelled Thomson the wrong way (with a p) but pirates weren’t known for their literacy. Also he died in 1825. Regardless, if you’re eight, you can stare out to sea and believe there’s a pretty good chance your pirate ancestor’s masts might appear on the horizon, and that he might row ashore and say to you, “Kid, I need you to go on an adventure to get gold.”

Twenty-some years later, this was essentially the premise of my first novel, Pirates of Pensacola: A landlubbing accountant’s life is anything but exciting until his estranged pirate father shows up after twenty-some years in jail and says, “Let’s hit the sea, lad, there’s treasure to be got.” And the adventure is under weigh.

Q: Are there any autobiographical elements in the story?

A: Never. Writing for me is first and foremost a means of escapism.

Q: In Pirates of Pensacola, readers follow Morgan and Isaac Cooke on their search for hidden treasure and discover the fascinating lives and lore of pirates and are transported to Florida and Caribbean islands. What kind of research did you do in order to write a story with so much accurate and vivid history?

A: Not much research, initially. Then, as a result of eating the wrong burrito, I contracted the hepatitis A virus, necessitating six to eight weeks in bed, that I could keep only toast down, and I suffered haunting, recurring dreams of cheeseburgers. But, all in all, I am thankful to have had the disease because it nudged me into doing research. Ships are complicated, and I didn’t know my bow from my poop deck. My story involved an extensive duel between a super-yacht and a clipper sailed by a bunch of actual pirates hiding in plain sight as a troupe of pirate re-enactors. To write the clipper scenes, I needed to know how the craft was rigged and sailed, and I needed to know about most every part of it, because about most every part gets blown sky-high. While in bed, I read about forty maritime books, mostly non-fiction, from Stanford’s singularly  extensive maritime library—in several instances, I was the first person to check out the book in half a decade. If I hadn’t had hep A, I don’t know when I could possibly have done all the research. Or that I would have ever done it. Or that the book would have sold.

Q: The story started out as your thesis project at Stanford University and against all odds found its way to bookstores. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A: Get Hepatitis A (see above).

Q: Why are you self-publishing a digital edition of Pirates of Pensacola?

A: This came about by accident. After I signed with Doubleday, St. Martin’s Press reverted the rights to Pirates of Pensacola to me, and I donated the book to, a charity that gives Kindles and e-books to impoverished children in sub-Saharan Africa. This necessitated the production of a digital version of Pirates of Pensacola, which had been released only as a hardcover. Meanwhile Pirates became a Jimmy Buffett’s Book Club pick, resulting in a surge of demand. Releasing the e-book is a means of providing the supply.

Q: Since Pirates of Pensacola’s original publication you’ve also written two books about spies. One of them, Once A Spy hit the New York Times bestseller list. Do you prefer writing about spies or pirates?

A: Pirates. Pure escapism. As Richard Zacks, my favorite write of pirate nonfiction pirate, puts it, “Who wouldn’t crave the pirate lifestyle? You get to rob, cheat, carouse, brawl, drink, chase wenches, then rob some more, carouse some more…what a life!”

Q: Are there any authors that you would name as influences?

A: Carl Hiaasen, Lee Child, Philip Roth, and Richard Zacks

Q: Is there a prequel, sequel or any new pirate adventure for Morgan and Isaac Cooke on the horizon?

A: That would be fun.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: Spies, in a novel called 7 Grams of Lead that will be published in early 2014. Seven grams of lead to the head was Stalin’s favorite solution to problems.

Upcoming Bookbanter Ebook Giveaway

Starting May 13th, I will running an ebook giveaway for that week for a chance to win a Kindle ebook copy of Pirates of Pensacola by Keith Thomson.  The giveaway will run from Monday, May 13th to Sunday, May 19th.  On the following Monday, May 20th, I will announce the winner.  To enter, you simply have to leave a comment on the giveaway post that will go up on Monday, May 13th.  So mark your calendars!

And here’s some more info about Pirates of Pensacola:

Praise for Pirates of Pensacola:

“A swashbuckling parody, Pirates of Pensacola is a fine, breezy read filled with laugh-out-loud scenes and high seas drama.” —Richard Zacks, bestselling author of The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd

“With rum, eye patches, peg legs, and a wisecracking parrot in need of a twelve-step program, Pirates of Pensacola blends all the conventions of the pirate genre and creates a novel of comic genius and originality. Keith Thomson is a shrewd and funny writer with a big future ahead of him.” —Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author

“Set in modern times, Pirates of Pensacola follows our poor, nebbishly accountant hero into a life of waterlogged crime on the high seas. [Keith Thomson is the] best emerging comic novelist for a good long while, with touches of classic Rafael Sabatini and the most imaginative Hiaasen.”
—Jeff Danziger, political cartoonist with The New York Times syndicate and author of Rising Like The Tucson

Pirates of Pensacola simultaneously thrills and endears itself with every explosively charged page.” —Richard Rushfield, author of On Spec

Reviews for Pirates of Pensacola:

“With its various oceangoing lowlifes, swashbuckling heroics and quirky humor, Pirates of Pensacola reads like a collaboration between Robert Louis Stevenson, Dave Barry and Douglas Adams after a night on the town.” —The Oregonian

“[Thomson] writes fluid, vivid prose, good dialogue and first-rate action scenes.” —The Washington Post

“Thomson’s beguiling, energetic debut. Crowned with buccaneer vernacular, plenty of colorful extras and a feel-good ending, it’s a vivid adventure tale befitting the high seas of Hollywood.” —Publishers Weekly

“Thomson’s rollicking debut, a tall, fanciful tale…throws us headlong into a world of peg-legged sea dogs and hidden treasure.” —Kirkus

“Thomson mixes a hodgepodge of odd characters, varieties of pirate-speak, and a short history of buccaneers in the area of the Caribbean into an oddball story replete with humor, love, and lots of adventure. There’s lots of swashbuckling action; a romance; and a scene-stealing, rum-seeking parrot. Fun, entertaining, and light, the story produces lots of smiles and more than a few laughs. —School Library Journal, Adult/High School, by Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

“Brilliantly clever and funny, Keith Thomson has done a remarkable job creating a world that will ring familiar to many pirate enthusiasts. It’s a fascinating, edgy, wonderful glimpse at the pirate utopia of our dreams.” —Pirates and Privateers (

“Devilishly charming and a real pirate treat.” —The Jolly Roger Pirate Journal

BookBanter Episode 32 with Richard Doetsch + New BookBanter Boon!

Richard Doetsch

Richard Doetsch

Richard Doetsch is the author of the heavily researched Thieves series, including The Thieves of Heaven, The Thieves of Faith and the forthcoming Thieves of Darkness (August 24, 2010). His latest book is the thriller, The 13th Hour, telling the compelling story of a man who finds his wife dead and with the aid of a time-traveling pocket watch travels an hour back in time for twelve hours, hoping to discover his wife’s killer and stop him or her before the murder is committed.

13th Hour

In the interview, Richard Doetsch talks about how he went from being a successful business man to becoming a professional writer, his daily method of coming up with a new and original story idea each day, how he wrote The 13th Hour as a personal dare in one month, and what he likes to do for fun.

Please join me on August 1st, where you’ll be able to enjoy a written interview with the great Gardner Dozois, as he talks about how he got started writing and editing, and what his process is when working on a new project.

Gardner Dozois

Until then, keep reading!

Alex C. Telander.

BookBanter Boon #5

It’s time for a new BookBanter Boon! Graciously donated by Elena Stokes of Wunderkind PR, we have a copy of the new book from bestselling author Margaret M. Liu, A Wild Light.

Wild Light

Obsidian shadows of the flesh…tattoos with hearts, minds, and dreams.  By day, they are my armor.  By night, they unwind from my body to take on forms of their own—demons of the flesh, turned into flesh.

For too long Maxine Kiss has felt an inexplicable darkness around her—a force she channels into hunting the demons bent on destroying the human race.  But when she finds herself covered in blood and crouched beside her grandfather’s dead body with no memory of what happened or of the man she loves, Maxine begins to fear that the darkness has finally consumed her.

With blood on her hands and her sanity in question, Maxine must face the truth about who she really is and embrace the love of the only man who can help her—before she loses what she cares about most: her family.

Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney, and the New York Times bestselling author of short stories, novellas, and two ongoing series: Dirk & Steele novels of paranormal romance, and the Hunter Kiss urban fantasy series. She wrote NYX: No Way HomeX-23, and Black Widow, for Marvel Comics, and is co-writing the ongoing bestselling Dark Wolverine series.   Liu divides her time between the beautiful state of Indiana, and Beijing/Shanghai, China.   For a complete listing of all her work, please visit her website at:

Praise for Marjorie M. Liu:

“This pivotal book in the Hunter Kiss series proves Liu’s dark side is a haunting place to be as she pushes Maxine to the brink as a sharp-witted, uncompromising defender, not immune to self-doubt but tempered and made stronger for it.”—Booklist on A Wild Light

“One of the key mysteries of the Hunter Kiss novels has been the truth about Maxine Kiss’ genetic heritage.  Clues have been dropped, but in the third chapter of this amazing series, real answers are given.  Liu’s craftsmanship grows with each novel, but it is the emotional undertones that give this story its devastating kick.  Truly on of the most darkly intense and spellbinding series in UF today!  Every Liu book should be an auto buy!”—Romantic Times Top Pick on A Wild Light

“I adore the Hunter Kiss series! Marjorie Liu’s writing is both lyrical and action packed, which is a very rare combination.”—Angela Knight, New York Times bestselling author

“Readers of early Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, and the best thrillers out there should try Liu now and catch a rising star.”—Publishers Weekly

“Liu’s ability to deliver kick-butt action and characters whose humanity resonates, even when they’re anything but human, is a testament to her outstanding storytelling skills.  Liu’s imagination is an amazing place to visit.”—Romantic Times (Top Pick) on Darkness Calls

To be entered into the competition to win this ARC of A Wild Light by Marjorie M. Liu, simply leave a comment on THIS POST of the BookBanter blog about why you like reading Marjorie M. Liu.

Anyone within the US can enter, and I’ll be accepting entries until July 31st at 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time.

If you have any questions, please email me at

The winner will be announced on August 1st on the BookBanter Boon #5 blog post.

The First BookBanter Book Giveaway: “Blockade Billy” by Stephen King

Blockade Billy

I’ve been wanting to do some sort of book give away for BookBanter for some time and now I have the perfect opportunity.  The BookBanter Facebook Group is closing in on 500 members.  Once the group hits that magical number I’ll do a post on this blog about where members of the group can leave a comment and be entered into a random drawing to win an advance reader copy of Blockade Billy by Stephen King.

There are only two rules for this giveaway:

1) You must be a member of the BookBanter Facebook Group to enter

2) Once the group hits the 500-member mark, there will be a post on this blog and people will need to leave a comment on the post to be entered into the random drawing.

If all goes well, will see about doing future book giveaways.   So tell your friends, spread the word, and let’s make this a big success!