Thursday, June 13, 2013

Embers, Sparks & Guest Post by Laura Bickle!

Anya Kalinczyk #1
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN: 978-1439167656
April 2010

“One of the most promising debut novels I’ve read in a great while… I’d highly recommend this book to anybody who reads fantasy. It reminds me in many regards…of another exceptional first novel…Emma Bull’s seminal War for the Oaks, and there’s not much higher praise that I can give.”
           —Elizabeth Bear on

“Bickle has something great in Anya. Embers has everything: demons, ghosts, dragons, love, sex, police, and murder.”
           —M.L.N. Hanover, bestselling author of Darker Angels

“Gritty but never grim, Embers is a truly urban fantasy, where the soul of a city haunts every page. I can’t wait for more of Anya and the unforgettable Sparky!”
           —Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of Bad to the Bone and Shade

Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.

EMBERS is available now from and Barnes & Noble.


Anya Kalinczyk #2
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN 978-1439167687
September 2010

The second book in Bickle’s series about Anya Kalinczyk is just as wonderful as the first—Anya is a compelling and likable protagonist and Bickle does an outstanding job in her portrayal of the city of Detroit; there are ruins, yes, but also hope in the ashes. Anya never takes herself too seriously and there is a scene in a baby supercenter that is absolutely not to be missed. (4 stars)
                 - RT Book Reviews

...a charming and inventive read.
                 -Elizabeth Bear, Realms of Fantasy Magazine, December 2010

Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.
After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

SPARKS is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 Guest Blog Post by Laura Bickle

Gals Who Kick Butt: My Favorite Comic Book and Cartoon Heroines
By Laura Bickle

As a little girl, I was fortunate to be surrounded by comic books. Every time my mom would take my brother and me to the little corner store, we got to pick out a comic book. I had the privilege of meeting all kinds of gals who kicked butt and saved the world through those comics and through cartoons on television. My comic book and cartoon habit really shaped how I wanted my own heroines to view the world and manage their own power – whatever those talents may be.

Wonder Woman was my first super-heroine. My mom bought me one of the Lynda Carter dolls, and she was my absolute most favorite toy. I think I dressed up as Wonder Woman every year for five consecutive years in grade school. I loved everything about her –“beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, as strong as Hercules, and as swift as Hermes.” She was the first self-rescuing princess I read about. I can’t really recall a time that she was sitting on her hands, waiting to be rescued.

When She-Ra was introduced in the mid-eighties, I was excited to have more female action figures. I had already been introduced to my brother’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe characters. I already owned Teela, Evil-Lyn, and many of the male figures. But I was super-excited to see a line of female figures. She-Ra was their leader, the sister of He-Man and the most powerful woman in the universe. I tuned in to watch her adventures ever day after school, wishing that I had my own flying horse and magic sword. But I made do with my pink plastic sword and the family dog (who was less than thrilled about being dressed in construction-paper wings).

As I got older, my taste in heroines changed. My next idol was Dark Phoenix, from the X-Men. She was a telepath who had been possessed by the alien Phoenix Force, making her both the ultimate creative force and destroyer of worlds. Dark Phoenix was “the fire and the light” of the universe, beyond morality, an elemental force of nature. Through college, I had a light up Phoenix action figure perched on my desk. She was both a hero and an antihero…a woman who didn’t always play nice.

These ladies, among others, helped me think about the world in a different “what-if” way. What if life and adventure were really unlimited, and I could create and defend the ideals I chose? What kinds of heroines could I develop with my own crayons, magic markers, and pens? What if there really were no rules about how a heroine “should” be?

I still have a lot of those comic books and old toys boxed away. I don’t think that I could get rid of them…they are too much a part of what I loved about being a child. And these heroines paved the way for what I wanted to create for the future in my stories.

Who were your favorite heroines when you were a kid? What did you love about them, and how did they affect how you saw the world?


About the Author

Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats.

For more about Laura, please visit her website at:
She’s also at Facebook

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Noelle! :-)