Author Interview: J.D. Lasica

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Today I am interviewing J.D. Laica, author of the new high-tech conspiracy thriller Biohack, the first book in the Gender Wars series. Biohack was a Hot New Release in five Amazon categories in mid-June.

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DJ: Hi J.D.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

J.D. Lasica: Sure. I’m a journalist and nonfiction author turned thriller author in Greater Silicon Valley. I’ve spoken at the United Nations, Harvard, Stanford, and on four continents—but I mostly love interacting with readers and championing the idea that we all have stories to tell.

DJ: What is Biohack about?

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J.D.: It’s a story about a woman who loses her toddler in a swimming pool accident and wants a second chance. And a hacker with special ops skills who’s looking for her real mother and comes up against powerful forces in a biotech company that’s out to change our idea of how to have kids.

DJ: What were some of your influences Biohack and the series?

J.D.: These characters have been dancing around in my head for years, but it was only the development of CRISPR gene editing a few years back that took this from the realm of science fiction to something that could be right around the corner.

Thrillers have always been my first love, and I wanted to tackle a big subject. So Michael Crichton was a major influence, and I tried to follow his lead in weaving in some cutting-edge science without slowing down the action. There’s a Tom Clancy international vibe with scenes set in New York, L.A., Miami, Dallas, Rome, France, Belarus, and more. And you’ll find touches of a technothriller, crime thriller, science fiction, medical thriller, and even legal thriller weaved in.

My other influence was Silicon Valley, which informed the world I created for the villain and his team. I think people are becoming more skeptical of where tech may be taking us, and readers can see the upsides and downsides of artificial intelligence and reproductive technologies in the novel. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Daniel Godfrey

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Today I am interviewing Daniel Godfrey, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Synapse Sequence.

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

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

Daniel Godfrey: Hello! I am a science fiction writer from northern England. My first novel, New Pompeii, was included in both the Financial Times’ and Morning Star’s ‘Books of 2016’ lists. It was followed by a sequel, Empire of Time.

My latest novel, The Synapse Sequence, is a stand-alone SF thriller.

DJ: What is The Synapse Sequence about?

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Daniel: The novel revolves around two competing technologies that are being used to solve crime. The first, preferred by the police, uses algorithm and AI to focus resources based on likelihood and probability. The second is the newly developed ‘Synapse Sequencer’ which allows an investigator (our hero!) to explore memories via a VR-style environment.

The central crime of the novel – the catalyst for the action – is the kidnap of a teenage girl… but the only person who might know what happened has been knocked into a coma. To prove the Sequencer has a place in law enforcement, our hero has to find the girl before the AIs and their army of bots.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Synapse Sequence?

Daniel: I’ve been fascinated for a number of years about the deployment of AI technology. It seems to be everywhere in the news at the moment, from medicine, to law enforcement, to call centres. It got me thinking about what that would actually mean for policing in the future. Is there room for a traditional detective in this setting? Would there be room for alternative ways of solving crimes? Continue reading

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Author Interview: R.S. Ford

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Today I am interviewing R.S. Ford, otherwise known as Richard Ford, author of the new fantasy novel, A Demon in Silver, first book in the War of the Archons series.

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DJ: Hi R.S.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

R.S. Ford: I’m the author of five published novels, including the steampunk adventure Kultus, published by Solaris, and the epic fantasy trilogy Steelhaven from Headline (both published under the name Richard Ford). I’ve also written a few short stories for the Black Library and I’m currently one of the writers on the Elite: Dangerous computer game. Other than all that, just an ordinary bloke

DJ: What is A Demon in Silver about?

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R.S.: In a nutshell, it follows a young woman called Livia Harrow, who lives in a land where magic disappeared a hundred years earlier. When Livia begin to manifest strange powers that haven’t been seen for a century all kinds of nefarious characters decide they want a piece of the action. Blood, guts and adventure ensue!

DJ: What were some of your influences A Demon in Silver and the series?

R.S.: The original seed came from wanting to start at ground zero – to have a society that was bereft of magic and whose only knowledge of it was in dusty tomes – then see how the story would develop when sorcery returned. How would those in power view it? With reverence or fear? How would someone who was previously powerless react to being able to wield magic in a place where it didn’t exist? Continue reading

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Author Interview: David Wilkinson

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Today I am interviewing David Wilkinson, author of the new sci-fi murder mystery novel, Under the Shell.

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

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

David Wilkinson: I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t, I’m still very early in my writing career. My first novel, We Bleed the Same was written in a series of workshops bought for me as a birthday present by my wife after she got fed up with me saying I was going to write a novel. It must have gone well though, as it was both published and short-listed for the East Midlands Book Award 2015. I love writing stories about people and my thought process always starts as dialogue. However, as a physicist by day, I’m committed to keeping the science grounded even though it remains firmly in the background.

DJ: What is Under the Shell about?

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David: Under the Shell is set in Engalise – a city under siege with no formal laws. Individuals have a few basic rights and these are upheld by Freedom Protection Agents. Jaq Pilakin is one such agent and specialises in murders. As a relatively unknown, independent agent, she has to build cases out of dead bodies that appear to be accidental and one such turns into a string of killings by someone who also then tries to kill her and has a good go at destroying the city into the bargain. Of course there are a lot of twists and turns and Pilakin herself has a dark, bloodstained past she is running away from, so plenty to keep the reader guessing.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Under the Shell?

David: Murder investigation in a closed megacity? Well, of course it all starts with Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which I read as a child. The wider world in which this book is set (the Anjelican Universe) is one I have been creating since early childhood and so many writers have influenced it along the way. I enjoy putting the odd word or half-sentence from such books into my writing here and there, as little Easter-eggs for those who may have also read them.

I had always had Engalise marked down as an ultra-libertarian dystopia and planned to have Pilakin character in it. I panicked a little, then, when Max Barry wrote Jennifer Government but it turned out he had come to the situation from the opposite direction. In his book the people are powerless without money, whereas here, it is my agent is. However, Jennifer Government certainly helped me crystallise my thoughts on how such a society might function. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Women in Dark Fantasy have Changed by Linda Robertson

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Linda is an internationally published author. In 2006, she won first place in the OSU/Mansfield Florence B. Allen writing competition and soon after earned a cum laude Associate of the Art’s Degree in English. She is a proud member of Broad Universe, a nonprofit international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Linda will be appearing at International Horror Hotel and Film Festival June 2 and 3 in Richfield, Ohio, at DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend and World Fantasy Convention Nov. 1-4 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Working as Linda Reinhardt she composed, created, and produced an original musical score for Jovienne, which is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Website: www.authorlindarobertson.com

Facebook:
Interact: authorlindarobertson
Fan page: lindarobertsonbooks

Twitter: authorlinda

Goodreads: /LindaRobertson


Women in Dark Fantasy have Changed

by
Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered, from angles on escapism vs. exploration, to writing some kind of how-to. Then the search engine offered me a Pinterest collection, women in dark fantasy. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rob Boffard

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Credit: Nicole Simpson

Today I am interviewing Rob Boffard, author of the new sci-fi novel, Adrift.

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

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

Rob Boffard: I am Iron Man. Well, I would be, if Tony Stark was South African. Also if he had terrible hair, a ton of tattoos, no money, was unable to build anything without it breaking, couldn’t do math, had an accent like a Canadian being punched in the voicebox, and wrote about spaceships and explosions for a living. But other than those things, I am absolutely Iron Man. Honest.

DJ: What is Adrift about?

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Rob: OK, so you’ve been on vacation, right? And I’m guessing you’ve been on one of those terrible tour buses with the sticky plastic seats and the crackly PA system and a guide who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Now imagine that: but in space. A tiny, shitty tour ship, going around a luxury hotel in the far reaches of the galaxy, while the tourists inside gawk at the Horsehead Nebula. The hotel is attacked and destroyed by a mysterious ship, and these tourists in their little cruising vessel are the only survivors. They’ve got minimal supplies, no weapons, and nobody back home knows they’re alive…

DJ: What were some of your influences for Adrift?

Rob:  Too many trips on crappy tour buses. But in terms of books: The Langoliers, by Stephen King, and Day Four by Sarah Lotz – both stories about ordinary people trapped in a pressure-cooker situation.

This question also has a slightly weird answer, because one of the books that also influenced it was Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman. It’s this amazing sci-fi story with space battles and killer viruses and psychotic AI, and blew my mind. The thing is, though, I actually read it after I wrote Adrift. It definitely affected how I rewrote the book, and raised the bar for the kind of things I wanted to accomplish.  Continue reading

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Author Spotlight: Moon Beam by Steven Burgauer

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About the Book:

Peril stalked the corridors of the lunar habitat. Fear was its companion. The killer, a woman, fed on that fear. No one in the lunar station was safe from her wrath, not even the fresh, young team that had just arrived from Earth to erect the first lunar space elevator. When completed, the space elevator was destined to be one of the great engineering projects of all time. The unreeling of the space cable had just begun, when the killer struck a vengeful blow.

Now, with a catastrophic solar flare flashing overhead, the race was on.

Can Chief Clay Flynn and Senior Tech Lou Santini stop her before it was too late? Can they save the lives of the men, women, and children of the Lunar Station and its life-sustaining resources from total annihilation?

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Peng Shepherd

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Photo by Rachel Crittenden

Today I am interviewing Peng Shepherd, author of the new dystopian novel, The Book of M.

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DJ: Hi Peng! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Peng Shepherd: Thank you for having me! The Book of M is my first novel, and it still feels like a dream that it’s actually out there. I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid, but really decided to get serious about it several years ago. I moved to New York to attend NYU’s MFA in creative writing program, which is where I first got the seed of the idea for this book, but it wasn’t until after I graduated that I finished it. Before that, I studied International Studies and Diplomacy and worked for several years in the private security industry. Very different, I know!

DJ: What is The Book of M about?

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Peng: The Book of M is about a mysterious phenomenon that first causes one person’s shadow to disappear, but then rapidly spreads across the globe, with terrifying effects—those who lose their shadows also start to lose their memories, but at the same time gain a new, dangerous kind of magic, and this begins to tear the world apart.

Husband Ory and wife Max have survived unscathed for two years, until at the beginning of the book, Max’s shadow suddenly disappears too, which forces them decide whether to keep hiding or to confront the nightmarish land outside their hideout in the hope of finding a cure.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Book of M?

Peng: I love big, sprawling stories set in our world but with some kind of fantastical or sci-fi twist, like Stephen King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage series, or Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. I really admire how those authors made each character feel so real, and how frighteningly possible their fictional realities seemed. Continue reading

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Guest Post: When Worlds Collide: Science Fiction and Physical Therapy by LJ Cohen

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LJ (Lisa Janice) Cohen is a poet, novelist, blogger, ceramics artist, local food enthusiast, Doctor Who fan, and relentless optimist. She lives just outside of Boston with her family, two dogs (only one of which actually ever listens to her) and the occasional international student. When not doing battle with her stubborn Jack Russell Terrier mix (aka “other dog”) or hanging out with her lab/hound mix (aka “good dog”), LJ can be found writing, which looks a lot like daydreaming. She writes SF, Fantasy, and YA novels under the name LJ Cohen.

LJ is a member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and Broad Universe, a national organization promoting women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

She also is a member of The Scriptors, an indie and hybrid author collective, where she blogs monthly on topics related to the writing life.

Once in a Blue Muse is LJ’s personal blog, where she has been posting about her life, work, publishing, and random observations since 2004.


When Worlds Collide: Science Fiction and Physical Therapy

by
LJ Cohen

I started writing stories when I was a child. At the time, I devoured anything even remotely related to science fiction or fantasy, so of course, those were the kind of stories I wanted to write.

The usual advice came my way from well meaning teachers and from my parents: Write what you know.

But what does any ten or eleven year old know? Like many kids, I lived in a world of imagination where the ordinary took on eldritch meanings. So I wrote about UFOs, magical talismans, and portals. But I didn’t have the lived experience or the knowledge to match the stories that seemed so brilliant in my mind.

I spent a long time believing this advice meant I couldn’t write what my imagination dreamed of writing.

Fast forward about three plus decades until I was a young mother with a rewarding career as a physical therapist. I still gravitated to reading SF&F and I still had the desire to write. So I returned to story ideas I’d had as a child and started writing again, but this time, I had the perfect rebuttal to my elementary school teachers: I took what I had been reading over a lifetime, added my professional knowledge to it, and linked them both to the emotional truth of my lived experiences.

What I knew wasn’t only the events of my day to day life; it was much richer and deeper than that. And my stories began to reflect it.

So what did I know best? I had studied anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy, kinesiology, communication and teaching methods, pain management, exercise and movement analysis, and differential diagnosis. I had some skill with early computers and programming. But I also had experienced love and loss, disappointment and good fortune. And change. Always change. 

Technology, medicine, and injury braid together to help drive each plot arc across all five of the volumes that make up the Halcyone Space series. Among my ensemble cast are characters with injuries, impairments, and disabilities. They also each have specific talents, interests, strengths, and struggles. These elements are not merely plot points, but are part of how each character reacts to external events and internal needs. This is particularly evident in ITHAKA RISING.

While the books take place in a near future world, there is still no perfect cure for brain trauma and Jem Durbin, a young computer genius, is overwhelmed with headaches, vertigo, and nausea, made worse when he tries to focus his vision. Desperate, he is willing to risk his life to get a black market neural implant. 

Lieutenant Commander Emmaline Gutierrez is an upper extremity amputee. She lost her left arm in the war that ended forty years before the events of the series. It is part of who she is that she makes the choice to use what appears to be a fairly primitive artificial limb with a claw hand, rather than a more anatomical and cosmetic one. That choice resonates with every other choice she makes in the books. 

Rosalen Maldonado is coping with PTSD from years of emotional abuse by her father. This, too, colors all her choices and actions. It especially makes acting as Halcyone’s captain and trusting her crewmates a challenge. There are times when Ro’s fear of trust and intimacy places them all at risk.

Barre Durbin, Jem’s older brother, wrestles with his guilt over Jem’s head injury. Jem would never have been hurt had he not been trying to help Barre escape the consequences of illicit drug use and their parents’ threats of forced commitment. 

Jem disappears. Ro and Barre attempt to rescue him. And because all choices have consequences, their actions lead to a planet that shouldn’t exist and decades-old secrets that could very well ignite a new war.

I’ve never uncovered conspiracies or fought in covert wars. I don’t understand the physics of wormhole travel and artificial gravity. But I do know a fair amount about people and some of the many ways we cope with adversity. 

For the rest, I rely on imagination, which is something we all know something about.

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*** Ithaka Rising is available to purchase TODAY as a part of the SFWA Scince Fiction Buyndle!!! ****

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Buy the Book:

StoryBundle


About the Bundle:

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Welcome to the largest, grandest and most out there bundle SFWA has ever done: the Sci-Fi SFWA Space Bundle! With 17 books that range from hardcore military sci-fi to character-focused alien encounters, we might have gone through the wormhole and out the other side.

SFWA serves authors at all points in their careers and we’ve embraced that diversity for this bundle. First, the Self-Publishing Committee reached out to a number of sci-fi authors throughout the genre who we know have enthusiastic and diverse fanbases. Then we opened the bundle up for submissions to our entire membership. We received far more submissions than we could actually put in this bundle, but after some rousing debate, we settled on a total of 17 spectacular titles.

Some of the proceeds of the bundle go to support SFWA in its mission to support, promote, inform, defend, and advocate for professional fantasy and science fiction writers. For more about the organization, see sfwa.org. For its grants program, see http://www.sfwa.org/2017/09/call-grants-2017/ – Daniel Potter

Not only that, but during our 3 week run, all StoryBundle newsletter subscribers get Qualify – The Atlantis Grail Book 1 by Vera Nazarian for free. Make sure to get that so you can enjoy Compete – The Atlantis Grail Book 2 by Vera Nazarian, available in the bundle!

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!


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Author Interview: Cynthia Kirkwood

BF6BFFC7-F786-471F-92B6-A8AF75A76283Today I am interviewing Cynthia Adina Kirkwood, author of the new literary, digital dystopian novel, Turn On, Tune Out.

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

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

Cynthia Adina Kirkwood: Thank you, DJ. I’m a former San Francisco Chronicle journalist. I’m also  a baby boomer straddling two centuries. I learned how to type on a manual typewriter. Now, I type on a computer. So, I can see both the wonder and the danger of computers and the Internet.

DJ: What is Turn On, Tune Out about?

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Cynthia: A British composer turns outlaw in Los Angeles. Angelica Morgan flouts a computer law that cripples creativity by mandating four daily hours of screen-watching. In the year 2033 in California, artists, who steal time off-line, are considered suspect, criminal, and dangerous.

DJ: If you could compare this book with any book out there that we might be familiar with, which book would it be?

Cynthia: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury introduces us to a world where people watch wall-size televisions incessantly (the novel was published in 1953 before the age of big screen TVs) and so-called firefighters burn books for peace of mind of the populace.  Over several decades, people had embraced new media – TV and films – and a quickening pace of life. Books were ruthlessly abridged to accommodate shorter and shorter attention spans, while minority groups protested against perceived controversial content. Continue reading

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