Monthly Archives: August 2016

Guest Post: Sweet Secrets Big Idea by Stephanie L. Weippert

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Stephanie is bibliophile — full stop. Leave her alone for ten minutes and she will be reading or writing.

Stephanie is married and claims she and her husband are naturally insane in a fun an harmless way. Together they do filking and other musical hobbies. Their teen boys often drive them toward the not-fun insanity (Nature or Nurture? – you decide).

With former careers as a legal assistant and a licensed massage therapist, Stephanie now gets to make writing a full time endeavor thanks to her awesome husband.


Sweet Secrets Big Idea

by Stephanie L. Weippert

At a cloth covered table in a ballroom filled with authors eager to sign their books, I smile as a burly man with his kid in tow make a bee line for me. He drops a copy of my book in front of me on the table with a bang. “Hey,” he asks. “What’s the big idea?”

I look up from the copy of my book Sweet Secrets he’d dropped, my pen in my hand to sign it and my eyes twinkled with delight.

“Food is magic,” I say, then sign with flourish and hand it back to him with a grin. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kij Johnson

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Today I am interviewing Kij Johnson, author of the new fantasy novella, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe.

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DJ: Hey Kij! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!  

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

Kim Johnson: I try never to write the same sort of story twice, so this is hard to answer. I’ve written some historical fantasy and some secondary-world fantasy, as well as some SF and a lot of short experimental works. I also occasionally write things that can only by a real stretch be called genre at all. The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe is me writing a classic sort of story in a classic sort of way.

DJ: What is The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe about?

KJ: The book is set in the dreamlands of H. P. Lovecraft: a professor of Mathematics in the ancient university town of Ulthar has to retrieve one of her students, who has eloped with a man from the waking world. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Robot Dragons Can’t be Literary by Paige Orwin

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Paige Orwin was born in Utah, to her great surprise. At the age of nine she arranged to rectify the situation.  She now lives in Washington state, next to a public ferry terminal and a great deal of road construction, and has never regretted the decision.

She is the proud owner of a BA in English and Spanish from the University of Idaho, which thus far has not proven terrifically useful for job prospects but she knew the risks of a humanities degree going in. She also survived the 8.8 Chilean earthquake in 2010, which occurred two days after her arrival in the country (being stubborn, she stayed an entire year anyway).

She began writing The Interminables when her favorite video game, City of Heroes, was shut down in late 2012.

Her partner in crime wants a cat. This, thus far, has not happened.


Robot Dragons Can’t be Literary

by Paige Orwin

I was fortunate enough to go to college.

There is, in the US, a standardized test called the SAT, and a “pre-test” for it called the PSAT. In high school, I took the PSAT, and apparently I did pretty well. I did so well that I got a letter from the “National Merit Scholarship Corporation” saying that I was a “semifinalist” in a contest I wasn’t aware I had entered. Later, they decided that I was a “finalist” and a “National Merit Scholar.” The University of Idaho thought that was a big deal, and offered me a four-year, full-ride scholarship. Continue reading

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Author Interview: K.B. Wagers

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Today I am interviewing K.B. Wagers, debut author of the new science fiction novel, Behind the Throne, first book in the Indranan War trilogy.

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DJ: Hey K.B! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

K.B. Wagers: Thanks! It’s nice to be here.

I am a tragically unhip, tattooed Coloradoan, who’s owned by four cats. I have a degree in Russian studies from CU Boulder that seems to impress my potential employers and means I can talk about how much I dislike Tolstoy until people’s eyes cross. I like weightlifting and whiskey, and I am terrified of heights.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Behind the Throne and the Indranan War trilogy?

KBW: I’d love to claim that Star Wars played an influential role, but really if it did it was all subconsciously. *laughs* Instead the two major Sanskrit epics from ancient India—the Mahabharata and the Raymayana—were influential factors as well as a movie called Seven Days in May from 1964. I was also putting the finishing touches on it when Mad Max: Fury Road came out and I think that ended up having an impact on the final pace of the book. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gaie Sebold

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Today I am interviewing Gaie Sebold, author of the new steampunk, urban fantasy novel, Sparrow Falling.

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DJ: Hey Gaie! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Gaie Sebold: Sparrow Falling is my fourth published novel, the second in the Gears of Empire series. The first in the series was Shanghai Sparrow. The previous two novels are fantasy, Babylon Steel and Dangerous Gifts.. I’ve been writing for most of my life – I’ve had a number of short stories and a book of poetry published. I also teach writing workshops. I also garden, cook, draw, paint, and make things. (I recently went on a course to make a bronze sword, which was fun).

DJ: What is Sparrow Falling about?

GS:The series follows the adventures of a street child and professional con-artist Eveline Sparrow, in a fantasy Victorian era where the Fey and many other mythical beings exist in a world just alongside our own. Eveline gets caught up in events where the politics of our world overlap dangerously with those of the Fey while discovering the truth about her past and trying to protect herself and those she cares about in the present. In Sparrow Falling Eveline is trying to attain a regular – and respectable – income for her school, our world is on the brink of war, there is a desperate man trying to manipulate Eveline for his own purposes, her friend Liu the fox-spirit is risking his life for his father and there are more ventures into the beautiful but lethal worlds of supernatural beings both British and Chinese.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Sparrow Falling?

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QS: In terms of non-fiction, Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, which is an astonishing series of pieces of Victorian investigative journalism. Grim reading, but fascinating. Fictional influences are much harder to specify – though I’ve always had a liking for roguish characters, and Eveline definitely falls into that category! Maybe she has Raffles somewhere in her literary genes.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers will sympathize with them? 

GS: Eveline, having grown up on the streets, is a survivor. She’s smart and tough, sometimes sharp-tongued. She’s an extremely good con-artist, and proud of it, but has her own moral boundaries – she doesn’t believe in stealing from people who are worse off than herself. She’s intensely loyal to those she cares about. And because she grew up half-starved she’s almost always hungry. Her friend Liu is half fox-spirit, and lives with a foot in both the mundane and supernatural worlds. He’s a basically decent person whose decency sometimes makes his life difficult. Beth is a very talented engineer who finds machines easier to get on with than people. Ma Pether is loud, brash, touchy, fierce, and started off as one of those minor characters who sometimes decides they don’t want to be minor, thank you…

DJ: What is the universe/world for Sparrow Falling like?

GS: Sparrow Falling is based in an alternative late Victorian era, where mythical creatures (fey, goblins, fox spirits, dragons) exist alongside our world, and where steam-driven technology has reached heights and abilities that would not be possible in the real world. It also has etheric science, the speciality of Eveline’s mother Madeleine, which uses sound to create mood. As it’s set in the Victorian period it’s quite dank, smoggy and smelly a lot of the time, especially the bits in London. The social structures of the era are pretty much those of the time, though I’ve played with history here and there (I have the martial art Bartitsu coming to England earlier than it actually did, for example, because it was too cool not to use).

DJ: Can you tell us about the ancient magic in this world?

GS: The ancient magic, such as it is, is really that of the mythology of the British Isles and other countries. There isn’t a magical system as such – mythology isn’t that organized or logical, it accretes around ideas and places over centuries.

DJ: What is the Sparrow School?

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GS: It is a school set up by my heroine to take on young women and give them useful skills, and a chance at independence. At least, on the surface. Some of the girls are also taught rather more esoteric skills, like disguise, breaking and entering, how to do a pigeon drop (a traditional con-game)…Eveline has Plans for her girls.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Sparrow Falling?

GS: Hard to say! The flight of the Aerymouse, the glittering, dangerous palaces of the Queen of the Fey and the Dragon King, scheming villains – it’s all fun to write.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

GS: I hope they all find something worth discussing. But I think as a writer you often find that people get very different things from your work than you expected – so any speculations I might make about what people will pick up from it are likely to be wildly off the mark.

DJ: What is your goal in writing Sparrow Falling? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when it is finally told?

GS: My goal is always to tell an entertaining story. There are messages in there, certainly, about exploitation and the misuse of power, and I hope those come across, but if they don’t I hope people just enjoy the read.  

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Sparrow Falling that you can share with us?

GS: “Consider always whether what you desire will cost you what you love.”

DJ: Now that Sparrow Falling is released, what is next for you?

GS: I am working on another fantasy novel with a secondary world setting, and have several other projects in hand, including future Babylon Steel novels, and a steampunkish collaboration with my partner, David Gullen.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gaie-Sebold/e/B005ISC21Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1470686645&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4385310.Gaie_Sebold

Linkedin: https://gb.linkedin.com/in/gaie-sebold-27477522

Twitter: @GaieSebold

Website: http://gaiesebold.com/

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

GS: That sometimes rogues and villains are the most fun to write – I hope they’re as much fun to read.

DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?

GS: I hope your readers find the above interesting – and if they have any questions I’m on Twitter, or they can contact me through my website.

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

GS: Thank you for giving me the chance to talk about Sparrow Falling.

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*** Sparrow Falling is published by Solaris and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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About the Book:

Master spy, former con-artist, Eveline Duchen returns in adventure set in a world of steam and magic.

Eveline Sparrow (formerly Duchen) hopes to put her past experiences as a thief and con-artist to more legitimate use; which is why some of the girls at her Sparrow School receive private lessons in burglary, fakery, and other such underhand practices.

But it’s hard to get honest work when few businesses will employ young ladies in the security professions.  The duns are at the doorstep, her friend Liu the half-fox-spirit is in some sort of trouble, and the rivalries of the Folk are in danger of overspilling into the mundane world and forcing the Empire into a bloody and horrifying war.  Can Eveline pull things out of the mire this time, or will the Sparrow’s wings be clipped once and for all?


61szUm3RzwL._UX250_About the Author:

Gaie Sebold was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since she was very small. She is still quite small, but older.
Her first published novel, ‘Babylon Steel’, came out from Solaris in 2012. The second in the Babylon Steel series, ‘Dangerous Gifts’, came out in 2013. A steampunk novel, ‘Shanghai Sparrow’, is due in 2014.
She has a number of short stories in current anthologies including the David Gemmell memorial anthology ‘Legends’ and the ‘World War Cthulhu Fiction Anthology’.
Gaie occasionally hits people with latex swords and has been known to read poetry, in public, for money. She has had a number of jobs, none of them as much fun as writing or running writing workshops. The most interesting thing she ever had to do for a day job was travel on the Underground while carrying a 6 foot carriage whip and an artificial severed finger.
She lives with writer David Gullen and has a paranoid cat, a shaggy garden, and rather a lot of hats.


 

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What Books I Want to See on Film

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Have any of you heard of the new speculative fiction site, The Semiotic Standard? Well, if you haven’t let me give you a reason why you should: The Collective.

One of the features they have, that is run by Andrea @LittleRedReader, is a round table panel called “The Collective”, which is where a question is posed and each panelist give their answer.

A couple of weeks ago (okay, more like a month ago now) I was invited on to answer the question:

WHICH SCIFI/FANTASY BOOK WOULD YOU MOST LOVE TO SEE AS A MOVIE? WHAT SCENE ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING ON THE BIG SCREEN?”

Check out my answer along with what other bloggers, authors, editors, and publishers had to say 🙂 http://semioticstandard.com/news/2016/7/14/the-collective-bringing-books-to-film

 

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Author Interview: Michael Swanwick

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Today I am interviewing Michael Swanwick, author of the new science-fiction and fantasy short story collection, Not So Much, Said the Cat.

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DJ: Hey Michael! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Michael Swanwick: In 1973, I came to Philadelphia with fifty dollars, a pack-a-day cigarette habit, and the mad conviction I could become a writer. Seven years later, my first two published stories placed on the Nebula Award ballot. Since then, I’ve published nine novels, roughly 150 stories, and countless works of flash fiction. Along the way, I’ve won several awards. I live for literature.

DJ: What is Not So Much, Said the Cat?

MS: Ten years of my life. There’s a lot encoded in these stories. Some of it, like my love of Russia and of Sweden and of paleontology or my Irish heritage, will be obvious to anyone. Much will not. But everything I did or was or learned in the past decade went into these stories. Continue reading

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Author Interview: L. Andrew Cooper

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Today I am interviewing L. Andrew Cooper, author of the new horror collection, Peritoneum.

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DJ: Hey Andrew! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

L. Andrew Cooper: Thanks for having me here! My partner and I recently finished playing the Assassin’s Creed game where you kill your way through the French Revolution. I love being able to run around through combinations of gorgeous and savage imagery, like the game’s hi-def rendering of bright Paris streets lined with guillotined heads. I revel in peculiar details and enjoy sorting through convoluted conspiracies. My genre is horror, so my conspiracies are darker, and guillotines seem mercifully quick by comparison. I’m a bit of an egghead and am prone to let characters wax philosophical, but eggheads roll and splatter, too.

DJ: What is Peritoneum?

LAC: The peritoneum is a membrane that covers our intestines and other viscera. I think of it kind of like a bag for our guts, but as a character in one of Peritoneum’s stories observes, it doesn’t really work that way when you cut a person open. Anyway, Peritoneum is a collection of interrelated short horror stories, and the conceit is that a membrane of ideas connects all the stories to each other. Often stories share characters, but sometimes they share images, events, or phrases. The horror differs from story to story, but it is always visceral. Continue reading

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Author Spotlight: Never Let Me (Melissa Allen #1-3) by Jennifer Brozek

About the Book:

An omnibus edition of the first three books in Jennifer Brozek’s Melissa Allen series.

What would you do if you discovered that everyone, in your house, on your street and in your town was dead? Then you discovered you weren’t alone–and whatever was out there was hunting you?

Melissa Allen, a troubled teen under house arrest, is the only person left alive in South Dakota. After discovering the mysterious deaths of her guardians and hearing of the massacre on the news, she realizes that there are monsters out there. They are pretending to be human, and they’ve have begun a door-to-door search–for her.

Melissa is unable to leave the quarantine zone and has no help except for Homeland Security agent David Hood on the phone. Before the government takes drastic action, she must figure out what killed everyone and stop it from happening again.

…or did Melissa herself, in a psychotic fit, murder her guardians–and the rest of the apocalypse is only happening inside her mind?

This special edition features the first three books in Jennifer Brozek’s Melissa Allen Series: Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die as well as a previously unpublished short story.

Never Let Me takes you head first in to Melissa’s troubled, paranoid world – and it will never leave you alone.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Beth Cato

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Today I am interviewing Beth Cato, author of the new steampunk short story collection, Deep Roots.

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DJ: Hey Beth! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Beth Cato: Thanks for having me by! I sum myself up as author, baker, and geek. I write steampunk fantasy novels and have published short stories across a wide array of genres. I’m known for my food blog, Bready or Not, with new posts every Wednesday. My evil cookies attract a lot of attention. I’m also an abashed geek with a deep love of old school role-playing video games, books, and the Great British Baking Show.

DJ: What is the Deep Roots collection?

BC: Deep Roots gathers three short Clockwork Dagger works that were originally published, separately, as ebooks over the last year and a half. Continue reading

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