Author Interview: Steve Rasnic Tem

61on5hfkhul-_ux250_Today I am interviewing Steve Rasnic Tem, author of the new horror novel, The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack.

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DJ: Hi Steve! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Steve: I’m a transplanted Southerner from Lee County Virginia, now a long-time resident of Colorado. My collaborative novella with my late wife Melanie Tem, The Man On The Ceiling, won the World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, and International Horror Guild awards in 2001. I have also won the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, and British Fantasy Awards for my solo work. My last novel UBO (Solaris, January 2017) is a dark science fictional tale about violence and its origins, featuring such historical viewpoint characters as Jack the Ripper, Stalin, and Heinrich Himmler. My novel Blood Kin (Solaris, March 2014), won the 2014 Bram Stoker Award. A handbook on writing, Yours to Tell: Dialogues on the Art & Practice of Writing, also written with Melanie, appeared in 2017 from Apex Books. I’ve also published over 430 short stories. The best are collected in Figures Unseen: Selected Stories, which came out this year from Valancourt Books.

DJ: What is The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack about?

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Steve: The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack is a middle-grade novel set during Halloween, about a strange shop and its stranger proprietor. Now that she’s a teen, Laura wants to skip trick-or-treating to go to this year’s Halloween party with her classmates. But Mom insists she take her 7-year-old brother, Trevor, trick-or-treating first. The two travel to a new shop at an otherwise abandoned old mall–Doctor Blaack’s Mask Shop, overflowing with masks and costumes of all kinds, many of them quite peculiar. Trevor wanders off and when she and Blaack finally find him he is wearing a mouse mask that refuses to come off. Doctor Blaack reassures them it will fall off precisely at midnight tomorrow—Halloween. But all the next day the mask gradually takes over Trevor, talking on its own and dragging Trevor wherever it wants to go. And if Trevor isn’t in a specified place by midnight, the mask will stay on his face forever. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Dawn Vogel and Jeremy Zimmerman

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383281_10150371627504300_851933735_n1Today I am interviewing Dawn Vogel and Jeremy Zimmerman, co-editors of the new anthology, Battling in All Her Finery: Historical Accounts of Otherworldly Women Leaders.

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DJ: Hi Dawn Vogel and Jeremy Zimmerman! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourselves?

Dawn Vogel: I’m a writer, editor, and historian who works with other historians and archaeologists for my day job as their editor, office manager, and business development assistant (basically, if there’s a hat, I probably wear it). I spend most of my spare time writing, crafting, co-editing Mad Scientist Journal, and herding our cats. I am least successful at the last of those things. My short stories are often about things that live in the water that want to kill you and siblings who fight but love each other in the end. Normally, the siblings do not live in the water and want to kill you.

Jeremy Zimmerman: I’m a bureaucrat who tells stories both on and off the job. As an author, I have a young adult superhero series that starts with Kensei. Our online magazine and anthologies are sort of my fault. It started with Mad Scientist Journal, which started with the idea of a scientific journal for mad scientists and evolved into collections of first-person stories.

DJ: What is Battling in All Her Finery: Historical Accounts of Otherworldly Women Leaders about?

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Dawn: Battling in All Her Finery is an anthology of 21 stories about women leaders. We opted for a very broad definition of leadership, so we’ve got queens and generals, but also CEOs and mages and young women on space stations. We wanted to put together an anthology of women heroes for all ages, and our authors really came through with stories that fit our call and also blew us away with their amazing takes on the prompt.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Battling in All Her Finery: Historical Accounts of Otherworldly Women Leaders?

Dawn: We’re often thinking about what our next anthology will be, even while we’re still wrapping up the previous one. As we were getting toward the final stages of Utter Fabrication, we had considered doing something about women leaders, but we hadn’t quite solidified it. We originally envisioned the book as being more about self-rescuing princesses, but we decided that expanding that to a broader definition of women leaders would make for a more interesting anthology.

Jeremy: That change in focus really opened up options for what people submitted. It really gave authors a chance to surprise us with what they came up with, which I don’t think we’d have gotten if we’d stuck with our original plan. It gave us a rich array of stories to choose from as we put this book together. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rich Larson

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Today I am interviewing Rich Larson, author of the new science-fiction short-fiction collection Tomorrow Factory.

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DJ: Hi Carl! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Rich: Hi DJ, I’m not actually Carl. I snuck in using his badge. My name is Rich Larson and I write speculative fiction. I was born in Galmi, Niger, have studied and worked in a variety of places, and now live in Ottawa, Canada. Besides writing, I enjoy playing soccer, watching basketball, learning languages, shooting pool, and dancing kizomba.

DJ: What is Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction about?

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Rich: The stories in Tomorrow Factory are about humanity’s interaction with technology and the strange places it might lead us.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction?

Rich: Glancing through the table of contents I see stories inspired by:

-LEGO’s Bionicle toys

-an article about muti, the trade in albino body parts for folk medicine

-a walk to the gym in winter under a perfectly blank sky

-vacationing in Thailand

Dead Space and that one Halo 3 level with all the sphincters

-NBA lottery hype and He Got Game

-the 90s Spider-Man cartoon

Mario Kart 64

-Penny Arcade’s Automata webcomic

-a vivid dream I had during a hot night in Seattle

-Instagram and my time in Portugal

Superbad Continue reading

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Author Interview: Michael Zimecki

cropped-ZimeckiHeadshot_FEB14-006-copyToday I am interviewing Michael Zimecki, author of the new crime novel, Death Sentences.

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DJ: Hi Michael! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Michael Zimecki: I’m an attorney by day and a writer at night.  Death Sentences was my first published novel.  My novella, The History of My Final Illness, about the last five days in the life of Joseph Stalin, was previously published in Eclectica Magazine.  I’ve also published articles and short fiction in Harper’s Magazine, The National Law Journal, Cold Creek Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper, among other publications.  Earlier this year, I won a Golden Fedora Award for Poetry from Noir Nation, an international crime fiction journal.  My award-winning poems are slated to appear in the next issue of the magazine, to be out soon.  I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my wife, Susan, and a black cat named Mr. White.

DJ: What is Death Sentences about?

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Michael: Death Sentences tells the story of Peter “Pop” Popovich, an unemployed 24-year-old.  He’s a high school drop-out who enlists in the Marines and washes out, receiving a psych discharge.  For a while, he finds work as a glazier, fitting glass into windows and doors, a strange vocation for someone so breakable, but he can’t get along with his co-workers and is soon fired.  Pop, in short, is a loser. He’s also an anti-Semite, a white supremacist, a misogynist, and a gun nut. After he has a falling out with his girlfriend, Pop ends up living with his alcoholic mother. When his dog defecates on the rug in her living room, Pop’s mother calls the cops and asks them to remove her son from her residence.  All hell breaks loose when police knock on the door and find Pop waiting for them with an AK-47.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Death Sentences?

Michael: Death Sentences is loosely based on an incident that occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2009, when a gunman, convinced that the government was coming to take away his guns, engaged in a four-hour standoff with police. Continue reading

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Author Interview: K.B. Wagers

Author_pic_smallToday I am interviewing K.B. Wagers, author of the new science-fiction novel, There Before the Chaos, first book in the Farian War trilogy.

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DJ: Hi K.B.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

K.B. Wagers: Thanks for having me, DJ! I’m a science fiction author living in Colorado. My first trilogy the Indranan War came out in 2016-2017. I’ve got four very strange cats, a house that’s way too big for just my partner and me, and more books than I know what to do with even after downsizing them. I’m a minimalist and photographer who loves macro photography especially.

DJ: What is There Before the Chaos about?

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K.B.: There Before the Chaos is about gunrunner turned empress Hail Bristol’s attempt to stop a pair of technologically advanced alien races from going to war with each other in humanity’s backyard. She’s fresh off a victory in a civil war that threatened her empire, has just signed a peace treaty with a neighboring government, and is settling into her new role as empress when things go sideways. The aliens specifically request her help with the negotiations, which is a tall order, but if anyone’s up to the challenge, it’s our recently crowned empress.

DJ: What were some of your influences There Before the Chaos and the series?

K.B.: Anything and everything? *laughs* I do a lot of binge watching/reading between books because I don’t tend to take in a lot of outside media while I’m working, so honestly stuff blurs together so much it’s hard to remember what, if anything, has directly influenced a book.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jake Tringali

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Today I am interviewing Jake Tringali, author of the new poetry collection, Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse.

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DJ: Hi Jake! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Jake Tringali: I run rad restaurants in Boston.  I grew up here, and then traveled around the east and west coasts of the States, and now I’m back and living in a big, creaky house next to a very old cemetery in Cambridge.

DJ: What is Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse about?

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Jake: After writing for 5 years, and being lucky enough to have more than a few poems published in literary magazines, I reviewed my portfolio.  My poems tended to fall into a few themes: sexy, science, music, apocalyptic. I focused this poetry collection on the apocalyptic side of things, as I thought it was unique in the market, and those poems have something to say about the random value of life in society.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse?

Jake: As a teenager, I once read an entire library’s science fiction collection from Asimov to Zelazny in one summer.  This collection is directly influenced by that summer. Specifically, the cyberpunk gods of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

DJ: What type of poetry can readers expect?

Jake: Readers can expect free verse.  Readers can expect curse words. Readers can expect their some fun jabs at both religion and science. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Amy S. Foster

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Today I am interviewing Amy S. Foster, author of the new science-ficyion novel, The Rift Coda, final book in the Rift Uprising trilogy. 

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DJ: Hi Amy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Amy S. Foster: Hi! I am an author and a songwriter. The Rift Coda will be my fourth published book. I am a frequent moderator of panels at various Comic Cons (Go Intersectional Feminism!). I am married to a lovely man I met in High School. I have three kids and I live in Portland, Oregon. I’m an avid knitter and I probably watch way too much TV

DJ: What is The Rift Coda and then the Rift Uprising trilogy about?

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Amy: The Rift Trilogy follows Ryn Whittaker who is one of many enhanced teenage soldiers that guard a doorway to the multiverse. That’s the macro story. The micro story is about a girl learning how to lead like a girl and what that looks like up close day to day. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Rift Uprising trilogy

Amy: I’m a consumer of pop culture so everything from Twilight to the Hunger Games to X-men, Buffy the Vampire slayer and that whole slew of late nineties early 00’s WB/CW shows.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Rift Coda

Amy: It was definitely creating all the different versions of Earths and the species and human societies that evolved on those versions. A modern day L.A. if the Roman Empire never fell? Now that was fun. Continue reading

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Interview: LiteraryBookGifts.com

8f626b4966e6bca0bb587cba3dc0e8d9_1024x1024@2x*Melissa was kind enough to us with a special promotional code MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE20 that can be used at checkout for 20% off anything at LiteraryBookGifts.com!!! And there is no minimum to order, and the code will not expire! See the bottom of the post for more details! 🙂

Today I am interviewing Melissa, founder of the new on-line bookish gift store, LiteraryBookGifts.com, a small company that specializes in bringing books to life on t-shirts and bags.

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DJ: Hi Melissa! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

For readers and book enthusiasts who aren’t familiar with your site, could you tell us what LiteraryBookGifts.com is all about?

Melissa: Hi DJ, thank you so much for having me for this interview! Literary Book Gifts is an online store with a wide range of products designed specially for book lovers, teachers, librarians, and anyone who loves to hear a good story. The collection includes a wide range of designs including many well loved authors from Sir Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes, to Jane Austen of Pride and Prejudice.

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DJ: What were some of your influences for LiteraryBookGifts.com? Why did you want to start your own store?

Melissa: I absolutely love to read. I’ve never been much of a writer myself, but reading, and listening to audiobooks has always been an important part of my life. I’ve have been influenced creatively from every novel I’ve ever appreciated from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter to J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. I wanted to start my own store because I believe literature should to be shared and talked about. Putting designs on shirts and totes is a perfect way to get a conversation started. However this is only true if the shirt fits, so to speak. This is why the collection comes in a wide variety of sizes (XS – 5XL) and colors, so the collection suits the variety of tastes that readers and book lovers have.

DJ: Which book genres and authors do you mainly feature? Do you also have designs that are just geared toward “books” or “reading” in general – rather than a particular novel?

Melissa: The designs are all based particularly off of books or authors from the classics. I don’t filter by genre, because I think all the genres are equally great. There are a few that are more general designs, such as the Typewriter Tote Bag which is great for writers, as well as a vintage book design for readers. One that I really like is a graphic of The End, like the last page of a book.

DJ: What types of products do you sell?

Melissa: Right now the collection includes t-shirts for men and women. There are also tote bags that come in three sizes, small, medium, and large.

DJ: Because I know this is a very important when buying clothes and items of the like: what type of material and quality are your products?

Melissa: I am happy to say that the men’s and women’s shirts are all 100% cotton, with the exception of the heathered colors that contain varying amounts of polyester. The tote bags have cotton handles and the body is made of a strong polyester fabric which is important for the printing process.

DJ: What are some of you personal favorite designs and what are your best sellers?

Melissa: The Edgar Allan Poe design has definitely received a lot of interest, and is a great seller. The Emily Dickinson Tote Bag has received a lot of positive feedback as well. One of my personal favorites is Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book T-Shirt because I love how the silhouette stands out on dark colors. I really also like the Picture of Dorian Gray T-Shirt, it’s more a of a subtle design but I think that the image of the man looking backwards into a mirror really captures the essence of the novel.

  DJ: Where do you get your idea for the designs from?

Melissa: I get the ideas from each and every individual novel. Some of the designs are remastered from old book covers, and some are from various artwork and typography I am able to find. I try to make sure that the colors and composition flow naturally with the title or author I am working with.

DJ: How long has LiteraryBookGifts.com been running for?

Melissa: Just a little over a few months now, I launched it earlier this year.

DJ: What was your favorite part about running LiteraryBookGifts.com so far? What about your biggest challenge?

Melissa: So far I have really enjoyed interacting with the book community, I love hearing their feedback and suggestions. My biggest challenge so far has been the website, I am not that great with things like websites so there were some difficulties getting started, although I hope to learn a lot more about the website design and the internet going forward.

DJ: Do you have any particular goals with LiteraryBookGifts.com? Whether it be expanding your collecting to add new products, more authors and books, world-wide shipping, or be a successful small business?

Melissa: I would say everything you mentioned is a goal for me! I’d definitely love to expand the product selection in terms of products, authors, and books. Shipping is important too, especially for international customers, that it be reliable and affordable. And of course, I would love to be a successful small business

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Melissa: Right now the very best way to find me is through the website at LiteraryBookGifts.com. Please feel free to get in touch with me about anything at contact@literarybookgifts.com, I love hearing from anyone and everyone!

DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about LiteraryBookGifts.com that we haven’t talked about yet?

Melissa: Each and every design and item is unique and you won’t find the same product anywhere else but on the website!

DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?

Melissa: I would love to add, that as a special promotion for readers of DJ’s blog, the code MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE20 can be used at checkout for 20% off anything in the store. There is no minimum to order, and the code will not expire.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

Melissa: I really enjoyed answering your questions, thank you so much for having me on your blog!

DJ: And the by the way, after much contemplation, even though it would be much more appropriate for me to get the Gray’s Anatomy T-ShirtI can’t resist and I’ve decided I’m going to the promotional code to get me the Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book T-ShirtIt’s actually my favorite one for the exact same reason as you! 🙂

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*** Use the code: MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE20 for 20% off anything in the store!!!***

LiteraryBookGifts.com

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Author Interview: Julie E. Czerneda

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Today I am interviewing Julie E. Czerneda, author of the new science-fiction novel, Search Image.

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DJ: Hi Julie! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Julie: My pleasure. I’m a Canadian SF/F author, published by DAW Books. I’ve been doing this for a living since 1997, and love it. I’ve edited anthologies and worked in non-fiction as well. My background is biology, which tends to show up in my work and daily life.

DJ: What is Search Image about?

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Julie: Esen’s back and she, with her Human friend Paul, have opened their All Species Library of Linguistics and Culture for business. In short order, an interesting dilemma ensues. Well, more than one, all involving alien biology. Esen’s books are episodic, in that each is a complete story with a biology conundrum at heart, but there are threads from one to another.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Search Image?

Julie: Everything that lives. Really. Plus physics. A primary curiosity I have is about communication and how we—meaning anything alive—manages it, and why. Most of Esen’s predicaments, and solutions, come about through failure to understand one another. Incompatible plumbing. Often literally. There could be slime. Continue reading

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Author Interview: D.B. Jackson

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Today I am interviewing D.B. Jackson, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Time’s Children, first book in the Islevale Cycle.

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DJ: Hey D.B.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

D.B. Jackson: Gladly – and thanks so much for taking time to chat with me. I’m a veteran of the fantasy and science fiction field, having been at this professionally for over twenty years. Writing as D.B. Jackson, and also under my own name, David B. Coe, I’ve published twenty novels and at least that many short stories. I’ve written epic fantasy, urban fantasy, media tie-ins, and a bit of science fiction. I’m probably best known for the the LonTobyn Chronicle, my first series, which won the Crawford Award, and for the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. I also have a Ph.D. in U.S. history. Most important, I’m married to the World’s Best Spouse, and I have two daughters, ages 23 and 19.

DJ: What is Time’s Children about?

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D.B.: Time’s Children is the opening volume in an epic fantasy/time travel series. It tells the story of Tobias a fifteen-year-old time traveler, or Walker, as they’re known in Islevale. He is sent to a royal court, where the sovereign directs him to Walk back in time 14 years to prevent a war. Just after Tobias arrives in that past, though, the sovereign, most of his ministers, and most of his family are killed by assassins. Tobias survives, as does the sovereign’s infant daughter. Tobias, with help from Mara, his friend and love, who follows him back through time, has to keep the princess safe, restore the royal line to power, and find his way back to his own time. But he’s being pursued by the assassins, and, well, it kind of takes off from there.

DJ: What were some of your influences Time’s Children and the series?

D.B.: The world itself is an homage to Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea. The original Earthsea trilogy has long been among my favorite works – along with Lord of the Rings, it’s the reason I fell in love with fantasy. I’ve created lots of worlds through my career, but I wanted this one to be different from those others, and so I made it a world of islands and seas, archipelagos and straits. As I say, similar to Earthsea, though it has plenty of unique elements.

And then, I would say that I was influenced in this project, as with all my work, by the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay. Guy may well be my favorite fantasist. I so admire the flow and beauty of his prose, the complexity of his settings and characters, the intricacies of his plotting. I strive for the same qualities in my own writing. Continue reading

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