Tuesday, July 2, 2013

VORTEX: An Editorial Love Story

(I don't blog much about my authors' books while they're in-progress toward publication. In part, this is out of respect for the writing/editing/revising/ publication process: a lot can change for a story as we work on it. It's also out of respect for readers—because I think it's mean to taunt you with tales of fantastic books you can't yet buy! Thus this series of publication-day "Editorial Love Story" posts was born: to celebrate the fact that, at long last, an author's book is out on shelves, and to offer a glimpse of each book's unique "making-of" story. I hope you'll enjoy and be inspired by this post, and that you'll soon have a chance to read this great book, or share it with a reader who might enjoy it!

Vortex (Insignia, #2)
The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.
Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. And the more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it, even if he sabotages his own future in the process.

Drawn into a power struggle more dramatic than he has ever faced before, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, like the exceptional gamer he is—or so he believes. But when he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless. Will his idealism and bravado cost him everything—and everyone that matters to him?

Filled with action and intelligence, camaraderie and humor, the second book in S.J. Kincaid’s futuristic World War III Insignia trilogy continues to explore fascinating and timely questions about power, politics, technology, loyalty, and friendship.

VORTEX is out today! Those of you who have already read the first book are surely celebrating; those of you who are new to the series have something wonderful in store for you. Just like the taglines ("Beyond The Impossible," and "The Impossible Was Just the Beginning") on her books, S. J. Kincaid has achieved the nearly impossible: she's written a second book in a series that's inarguably even stronger than the first.  And I'm not the only one who thinks so! The impossibly-hard-to-please Kirkus Reviews had this to say about VORTEX in a starred review: "Kincaid lays a lot down, twining her increasingly complex plot and characterizations with Tom’s growing awareness. Action fans, fear not: For all the deep thinking Tom and readers undertake, pace, adventure and fun are not compromised one whit. A surprisingly and satisfyingly rich middle volume.”

Shelley's books are masterful feats of imagination--and as an editor and as a reader alike, I am in awe of the way she so casually carries around entire galaxies in her mind! The INSIGNIA series is spot-on in its characterizations; phenomenally creative in its plotting and world-building, and startlingly vivid and alarming in its insights of how the near-future could unfold. INSIGNIA and VORTEX (and the prequel novella, ALLIES) are also some of the most genuinely humorous YA books in the market today, I think. Her characters are intensely real: full of the awkward mishaps, bumbling idiocies, and gleeful pranks of early teen life, but also acutely sensitive; occasionally flawed; deeply concerned with justice; and truly devoted to one another. In short, Tom and his comrades Vik, Wyatt, and Medusa, are characters that are so alive that I want nothing more than to be friends with them.

For the last year, as Shelley and I worked on the manuscript that would become VORTEX, Tom & Co have made me repeatedly laugh to the point of snorting/choking in coffee shops and on airplanes and at my desk and on the subway, much to the confusion and consternation of strangers sitting beside me. Each time a new chunk of the story, or a revision, would pop into my inbox, I'd find myself grinning with delight. You know that feeling, when you're a kid and it's the first day back at school after a long summer and you get the first glimpses of everyone you haven't seen in weeks and months? VORTEX is a little like that. It makes me bubble over with excitement and glee and the thrilling sensation of "Hey, look, it's all my friends! We finally get to hang out together again and I don't know what exactly what we'll be doing, or what all's going to happen, but I just know it is going to be SO MUCH FUN!" That Shelley can offer readers so much fun while also giving them profound geopolitical commentary and incredible plot twists and meaningful emotional development is just further proof that she's written a second novel that's deserving of rich praise and "favorite book" status.

So how can you help celebrate the publication of VORTEX? You can order a copy, for yourself or a sci-fi lover or gamer in your life (note: guys and girls both love this series), or request a copy at your local library. You can follow the author on Twitter (and wish her a happy book birthday!) or check out her website, or follow the series on Facebook. If you've read and enjoyed INSIGNIA, you can help spread the word to fellow readers by getting a copy into their hands (note: INSIGNIA is newly-available in paperback) or by sending them the link to the Browse Inside sample. You can download a copy of ALLIES, the prequel novella to the series if you haven't already done so. And this week, you can join other book lovers in the Epic Reads Re-Readathon of INSIGNIA http://www.pitchdark.com/blog/join-the-insignia-re-read-a-thon/ in preparation for VORTEX--a great way not only to celebrate a fabulous book series but also to meet other avid readers--who knows, perhaps a friendship as great as Tom-Vik-Yuri-and-Wyatt's could emerge!

Happy book birthday to VORTEX, Shelley! Thank you for the "impossibly" wonderful INSIGNIA and VORTEX and ALLIES--the world of books is much richer for your stories and characters, and I feel so privileged to be a part of the process that brings them into the world!


  1. Wow. I guess I have to read this series!

  2. I started Vortex with a certain kind of dreading. Generally, second books in a trilogy tend to be the ones that I like the least, and Insignia is one of my favorite books, so I was afraid that Vortex wouldn't be near as awesome. However, that didn't happen with Vortex: the plot continues to be interesting and the characters are so awesome that you can't help but being happy just to read about them, whether they are joking, or just hanging out. The jokes specially are a great part in this series. I don't usually laugh while reading a book, but the jokes in both Insignia and Vortex are simply so great that they had me laughing so many times that I lost count. This is one of my favorite series of all times:)

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