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Laura Bickle

Laura BickleLaura Bickle (aka Alayna Williams) writes urban fantasy, and horror. She has an MA in sociology-criminology (research  interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She lives happily ever after with her chief muse and four mostly-reformed feral cats in the Midwestern U.S. Learn more at Laura Bickle’s website.


Embers: Well-executed A-plot

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Embers by Laura Bickle

In her debut novel, Laura Bickle introduces us to Anya Kalinczyk, a woman as troubled as her home city of Detroit. Like many of her sister urban-fantasy heroines, Anya has a tragic past and uses it as a reason to push people away. She works as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department and moonlights with a ghost-hunting team. Anya is a Lantern, which means she has the rare ability to consume ghosts and demons. She also has a familiar spirit, Sparky, a fire elemental who takes amphibian form but acts more like a large dog. (Sparky, needless to say, is adorable.)

A serial arsonist is targeting what seem to be random buildings in the city. Anya discovers that the crimes are ritualistic in nature, and that the perp is planning a grand finale on Devil’s Night, just two weeks away. This plotline is exceedingly well done. The investigation ... Read More

Sparks: The salamander is an irresistible bright spot

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Sparks by Laura Bickle

In Sparks, Laura Bickle’s follow-up to Embers, Anya Kalinczyk faces another baffling case of magic and mysterious fires. The Detroit Fire Department is confounded by what seem to be instances of spontaneous human combustion. Meanwhile, huckster guru Hope Solomon is amassing wealth and power on the backs of Detroit’s desperate. Anya and her friends are in grave danger when Anya discovers a link between Hope and the fires.

Hope Solomon is incredibly creepy. She espouses a blend of the popular “law of attraction” and “pay it forward” philosophies, with a sinister twist. I got a chill down my spine when I realized what she was doing, and I don’t even mean what she was doing supernaturally. If you’ve read anything about cults and/or pyramid schemes, it’ll prob... Read More

Nine of Stars: An intriguing start to a new trilogy

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Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle

Nine of Stars (2016), Laura Bickle's dark and fantastical tale of an alchemist's daughter in Wyoming, is attempting to cast a wide net as far as its readership goes. It is billed as both the third instalment of the DARK ALCHEMY trilogy, as well as the first book in the WILDLANDS series, which readers can jump straight into. What's more, it's a fantasy-cum-crime-cum-romance, so it should in theory be ticking a lot of boxes for a lot of readers. Jana and Ray have once again joined forces in this review, so in the interest of clarity, we've marked Jana's contributions in black whilst Ray's are in blue.

Jana: Petra Dee is a geologist living in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming; she spends her days taking ro... Read More

More fantasy by Laura Bickle

The Hallowed Ones — (2012-2013) Published: Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn — at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

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FanLit Asks: June 5, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any news to share with us?
Laura Bickle / Alayna Williams: My first YA novel, The Hallowed Ones, will be released by HMH Graphia on September 25. Pitched as Witness meets 28 Days Later, The Hallowed Ones is a paranormal thriller in which Amish girl must protect her family from a violent contagion, even as fear and denial threaten to erode her community from within.

Mark Lawrence: Why yes I have! My daughter (age 8 and severely disabled) wrote a book that's out-selling my own in the US! It's a picture book and she used a head-switch and communication ... Read More

FanLit Asks: July 3, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any news to share with us?
J.A. Pitts: Forged in Fire was just released from Tor. I'm currently on my book tour in San Diego and San Francisco. I have more events planned in the next month which can be found on my website under appearances.

James Barclay: I’m on the jury for this year’s British Fantasy Awards which is an honour and a privilege -- there is so much quality on the shortlists this year and I’m really buzzed about reading it all though picking the winners is going to be a tough job. I’ll be at FantasyCon 2012 in Brighton for the whole weekend -- that’s Friday 28th September to Su... Read More

FanLit Asks: July 10, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
What are you working on these days?
Mark Lawrence: When not using MS Paint to draw mice and not at work pushing back the frontiers of science (sometimes in the right direction), and not looking after my youngest daughter... I'm writing a book called Gunlaw that's a strange fusion of gunslinger fantasy and sci-fi.

Anne Ursu: I'm in the middle of a new book. It's my first high fantasy, and I'm both intimidated and thrilled by the challenges that poses. Right now, mostly intimidated.
Read any good books lately?
James Barclay: Well, leaving aside anything I’ve ... Read More

FanLit Asks: October 16, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:

Got any news to share?
Stephen Deas: The Black Mausoleum came out in August and The King's Assassin will hit the shelves in a couple of days.

Bradley Beaulieu: I'm headed to the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, Canada at the end of this month. I'll be doing a reading there, and there's also the mass autograph signing, so if anyone happens to be there, please stop by and say hello. I'd love to see you.

Laura Bickle: My first YA novel, The Hallowed Ones, was r... Read More

FanLit Asks: December 4, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:

What are you working on these days?

Morgan Keyes (Mindy Klasky): I just finished the sequel to Darkbeast, which is tentatively called Darkbeast Rebellion. (It should be in stores about a year from now.) Next up, I'm working on a totally new fantasy series, about a boy born without magic in a society where everyone else has special powers.

Stephen Deas: Edits to my next dragon book and the first draft of the one after. Other things I can't talk about just yet, but I can say that I'm putting ideas together for a collaborative Space Opera series.

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Writing the Apocalypse

Today we welcome Laura Bickle, author of Embers, Sparks, and the YA novel The Hallowed Ones. The Outside, a sequel to The Hallowed Ones, will be released later this year. Laura also writes the DARK ORACLE series under the name Alayna Williams. Her question for you today is: Where do you want to be when the apocalypse hits? One commenter wins a copy of The Hallowed Ones.

One of the great things about writing is getting to ask those “what-if” questions. When I was writing The Hallowed Ones, I knew that I wanted to unleash a plague of bloodthirsty vampires on humanity. But I wanted to also explore the idea of survival, and I gave some thought into who might be best-equipped to surv... Read More