Monthly Archives: October 2016

Author Interview: Michael R. Underwood

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Today I am interviewing Michael R. Underwood, author of the science fiction and fantasy, genre-hopping novellas series. Genrenauts: The Complete Season One Collection just hit the digital shelves, with the paperback hot on its heels.

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DJ: Hey Michael! Thanks for coming back to do a follow up interview about the Genrenauts: The Complete Season One Collection!

I had you on the first time to about the Kickstarter for Genrenauts: The Complete Season One Collection. Now that it is completed, how did it turn out? Would you consider using it again for future projects?

Michael R. Underwood: Kickstarter took up even more of my attention and energy than I’d expected, but it was totally worth it. Kickstarter was a great partner for getting the word out about the campaign and the series in general. KS’s own discovery systems brought in around 27% of the pledge funding, which was notably higher than I was expecting. The backers have been very supportive (and not just with their pledges), and I’ve been very pleased by reader responses to the season as it unfolds. I sent the ebook omnibus rewards to backers in advance of the official release date, and am just finalizing the paperback print run now.

DJ: In case any of my readers missed the first interview, please tell us again: What is the Genrenauts series about? And what is a “genrenaut”?

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Michael: Genrenauts is an adventure science fiction series told in novellas, for fans of Leverage, Quantum Leap, Redshirts, and/or recent webseries Dramaworld.

In Genrenauts, our Earth is one of many. Every other world is the home of a story genre, from Western or Fantasy to Romance, Action, Crime, etc. Stories play out in these worlds – familiar tale types, archetypal characters, and so on.

When stories on these worlds go off-track, you send in the Genrenauts. This team of narrative specialists travels across dimensions to find, analyze, and fix broken stories. If they don’t, the ripples manifest as violence and upheaval in our own world (when Science Fiction World goes off-track, scientific innovation stagnates and exploration halts; when Fantasy World goes off-track, xenophobia rises and cultural rifts widen, etc.).

Stand-up comedian Leah Tang is recruited to join the Genrenauts as stories are breaking at a record pace. Will she adapt to the bizarre and dangerous life of a Genrenaut, or will she end up as just another broken story? Continue reading

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Author Interview and Excerpt: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Today I am interviewing Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of the new urban fantasy novel, Certain Dark Things.

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DJ: Hi Silvia! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Silvia Morena-Garcia: I am a Mexican writer now living in Canada, English is my second language. My first novel, Signal to Noise, came out last year and was nominated for the British Fantasy, Locus, Aurora and Sunburst Awards. I am co-editor for the magazine The Dark and also co-editor for The Mexican Literary Review. I have been nominated for a World Fantasy Award for my work on the anthology She Walks in Shadows. Certain Dark Things is my second novel.

 DJ: What is CERTAIN DARK THINGS about?

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Silvia: Atl, a descendant of Aztec vampires, is on the run from a rival vampire cartel. She hides in Mexico City where she meets a street kid called Domingo, hoping to evade her pursuers, but they are hot on her tracks and now there’s a cop also looking for her.

DJ: What were some of your influences for CERTAIN DARK THINGS?

Silvia: I wrote the book as a love letter to Mexican noir and to the movie El Vampiro. I loved when Ninón Sevilla appeared in movies and lured men to their doom.

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?

Silvia: I think sympathy is overrated. I mean, people watch shows about cannibal killers and that doesn’t sound sympathetic to me. Atl is a vampire inspired by Mexican folklore, so she doesn’t necessarily follow the “rules” of stuff like Dracula. She can’t turn people into vampires and she doesn’t give a shit about crosses.

Domingo is a kid from the streets of Mexico City. He’s smart and resourceful, and he’s in awe of Atl. There’s also Nick, the member of a rival vampire clan who is out for revenge, and Ana, a cop trying to survive in a corrupt system. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gregory L. Hall

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Today I am interviewing Gregory L. Hall, author of the new YA dark-fantasy/horror novel, At the End of Church Street.

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

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

Gregory L. Hall: I live a complicated life. During the day I work for the CIA as an undercover operative. Obviously I can’t discuss much but I will say I get to visit amazing places all across the world. It can be difficult though because at night I’m a pole dancer over at TTOC (Turn the Other Cheek), a club near my house. So no matter where I am for the CIA, I have to get back for my evening shift. Actually pays more than being a spy so I can’t quit. My dancer name is Naughty Yum Yums. Same as my spy name.

Man, that sure sounds better than being a stay-at-home dad folding laundry!

DJ: What is At the End of Church Street about?

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Gregory: Church Street focuses on a ‘family’ of homeless Goth kids who live the vampire lifestyle. They all have broken pasts. Society didn’t want them so they created their own. In a twisted way, they feel being vampires gets them respect. Of course, no one believes they’re real, except for one sick individual, who just happens to be a vampire hunter. The Family tries to survive as they’re murdered one by one by someone who won’t let them run back into the shadows. There are so many surprises, it should be a pop-up book.    

DJ: What were some of your influences for At the End of Church Street?

Gregory: It’s actually based on real Goth kids I knew when I worked at a haunted house attraction in Orlando. I was the ‘barker’ for the tourists outside and the Goths would come around every night like Hallmark executives to a Christmas party. I got to know them well and learned their stories. Sad stuff but they were entertaining as hell too. They made a lot of mistakes but deep down they were good kids. When I thought about writing a vampire novel with a fresh twist, my old Orlando buds came to mind. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gabriel Squailia

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Today I am interviewing Gabriel Squailia, author of the new dystopian fantasy novel, Viscera.

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

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

Gabriel Squailia: I’m the author of Dead Boys and Viscera, two dark and decidedly odd fantasy novels. I make a living as a dance-floor DJ in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, and I greatly enjoy naps.

DJ: What is Viscera about?

Gabriel: It’s a brutal swords-and-sorcery fantasy with a twisted sense of humor. It’s a quest for vengeance that gets tangled up in the intestines of a number of strangers. And it’s about our deepest selves and the thorny paths they travel while they’re emerging.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Viscera?

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Gabriel: Most obvious are the fantasy influences, from China Miéville’s Bas-Lag novels to GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. (I also took a lot of cues from Jack Vance and Dungeons and Dragons on this front.) But the secret source of this novel was Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell, a brilliant nonfiction book that argues that people are often at their noblest and most utopian in the midst of great catastrophes. So many of our tales of war, disaster, and dystopia present humanity as being perpetually on the verge of regression into animal chaos, and I think this is a lie we’ve swallowed too long. So I wanted to write a story that shows the hope on the other side of tragedy—which meant dragging my characters through the muck first.

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?

Gabriel: Everything after the first few pages constitutes a spoiler, so I’ll stick with the first characters we meet. Rafe Davin has recently joined a Fortune-worshiping cult of gamblers called the Assemblage, and he’s following his Ace, Jassa Lowroller, through the woods outside of Eth. The two of them are decidedly Up to No Good, but Rafe is struggling with all of it—the bizarre tenets of the cult, the existence of Fortune, and the radical changes in his life that led him here—and that makes him very compelling to me. Mostly because I think too much, too, and spend a good deal of my life doing things I’m constantly questioning. Continue reading

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New-Release Spotlight: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

About the Book:

Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.

Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. in defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.

A Taste of Honey is a new novella in the world of Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephen Aryan

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Today I am interviewing Stephen Aryan, author of the new fantasy novel Chaosmage, final book in The Age of Darkness trilogy.

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

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

Stephen Aryan: Hello, thanks for having me. I’m a British fantasy writer of secondary world epic fantasy. I’ve been reading fantasy books all my life and I started writing my own stories at an early age. I live in the West Midlands of England with my partner and two cats, and when I’m not reading comics, watching genre TV or drinking real ale, you’ll find me walking in the countryside somewhere. I say I’m a lapsed gamer as nowadays I don’t have much time to spend playing MMORPGs and other PC games.

DJ: What is Choasmage and also Age of Darkness trilogy about?

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Stephen: Chaosmage is a horror thriller story about a rotting and forgotten city on the edge of the world where something is lurking in the shadows. There are lots of stories coming out of the area about the dead coming back to life, weird creatures crawling through the rubble at night, ghosts wandering the streets and there are a lot of people going missing. Two characters are sent in to unravel the mystery and find out what is going on before the madness spreads.

The trilogy itself is about all kinds of things, so it’s difficult to summarise. This is because each book in the trilogy is a relatively standalone story, but they’re all tied together, and they build on each other. So each book is exploring a theme of its own. There are lots of hidden gems for readers who’ve been there since the first book, with payoffs in the second book and third book. Continue reading

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Cover Reveal: Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick

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About the Book:

When gods and monsters battle, her music will not protect her…

The Crescent Atoll is a remote string of tropical islands, connected by long canoe journeys and a love of stories.

When Kaimana, a young ocarina player, discovers the lair of a taniwha – a legendary monster – she finds herself inspired. The song she is composing about their encounter will be her masterpiece, but her disturbance of the beast attracts the ruining gaze of the god of war. She must convince the taniwha to trust her if they are both to survive.

Where the Waters Turn Black is a standalone novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. Inspired by the myths and legends of South Pacific island cultures, this book is perfect for those seeking fantasy stories with a hint of the unfamiliar.

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Where the Waters Turn Black will be released in November 2017.

Head HERE to be notified when it is released, and to get some exclusive Yarnsworld stories.

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Check Out the Book: 

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About the author:

Benedict Patrick is from a small town in Northern Ireland called Banbridge, but has been living and working in Scotland since he moved there at the age of eighteen. Tragically, that was quite a while ago.

He has been writing for most of his life, and has been reading for pretty much all of it (with help from mum and dad at the beginning). Benedict’s life changed when a substitute primary school teacher read his class part of The Hobbit and later loaned him the book – he fell in love with the fantasy genre and never looked back.

They Mostly Come Out At Night is his debut novel, and is the first novel in The Yarnsworld series.

Try out some free Yarnsworld stories by signing up to the mailing list: http://eepurl.com/b4UNHj


 

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Short Story Review: The Black Dagger by Alesha Escobar

The Black Dagger (Magic Unveiled: An Anthology) by Alesha Escobar

Publisher: Smashwords Edition

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Edition: ebook,

Genre: Fantasy, Short-Story

Rating: 3.5/5


I love a good murder mystery; I also love Greek mythology.
Continue reading

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Author Interview: Cassandra Khaw

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Today I am interviewing Cassandra Khaw, author of the new horror novella, Hammers on Bone.

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

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

Cassandra Khaw: Hey! Glad you took the time out to interview me. Always feel fancy when someone decides I’m cool enough for that. Let’s see. I work business development for a micropublisher called Ysbryd Games. I really like chocolate. I am a lapsed journalist who has had the good fortune of seeing her byline appear in places like Engadget, The Verge, PC Gamer, and an assortment of other fabulous places. I really like reading.

My job involves me travelling a lot and that saps a ton of my energy. (You’d be amazed how exhausting sitting down for 20 hours can be, if it involves being claustrophobic and trapped in a metal can full of recycled farts.) When I can, however, I run, dance, and punch things.

DJ: What is Hammers on Bone about?

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Cassandra: A ten-year-old boy asking a private investigator, who may or may not be a monster, to kill an abusive stepfather. Set in Croydon, it is both an experiment in Lovecraftian noir and also a discussion of domestic abuse, how readily invisible such things are, and how easily we mistake our neighbourhood monsters for something else.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Hammers on Bone?

Cassandra: Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century, Rin Chupeco’s The Suffering, ian Tregillis’ Something More Than Night, Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, John Carpenter’s The Thing. Loads of things. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Walter Jon Williams

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Today I am interviewing Walter Jon Williams, a Nebula-Award winner, and author of the new science-fiction novel, Impersonations: A Story of Praxis.

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

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

Walter Jon Williams: I view science fiction as a kind of infinite playground in which I can move from one set of equipment to the next, from the slides to the monkey bars to the swings— which is a way of saying that I don’t just write the same sort of book over and over. I’ve written cyberpunk (Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, Angel Station), near-future thrillers (This Is Not a Game, The Rift), classic space opera (Dread Empire’s Fall), “new” space opera (Aristoi), post-cyberpunk epic fantasy new weird (Metropolitan and City on Fire), and of course the world’s only gothic western science fiction police procedural (Days of Atonement).

As you might guess, some of my books escape easy categorization.

I’m also a reasonably prolific writer of short fiction, including contributions to George RR Martin’s Wild Cards project.

I’ve been nominated for numerous literary awards, and for a number of years was science fiction’s “Bull Goose Loser,” the person who had the most award nominations without having actually won anything. But then I won Nebula Awards in 2011 and 2005, and I became Just Another Award-Winning Author.

DJ: What is Impersonations about?

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Walter: On one level, it’s a space opera adventure, with alien species, plenty of action, a knotty mystery, and a huge explosive climax.

On another level, it’s an exploration of identity. Sula, my protagonist, is not what she seems, and she’s been putting on a false front for so long that she doesn’t quite know who she is anymore. Others in the story are hiding secrets and inhabiting false identities, and engaged in complex conspiracies that reflect Sula’s own situation, while putting her in peril.

On a third level, it’s about what happens when a young woman confronts the dream she had as a child, and finds it isn’t quite what she thought it was.

DJ: I understand that Impersonations actually takes place in the your Dread Empire’s Fall series. Where does Impersonations take place in that time line, and can readers unfamiliar with your Dread Empire’s Fall series still read Impersonations?

Walter: Firstly, you can read it without knowledge of the other books. I bring any new reader up to date very quickly.

In the Dread Empire timeline, Impersonations takes place after the first three books, following the conclusion of the Naxid War. Continue reading

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