Monthly Archives: November 2016

Author Interview: James Islington

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Today I am interviewing James Islington, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Shadow of What Was Lost, first book of The Licanius trilogy.

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

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

James Islington: Hi, and my pleasure! So I’m 35, Australian, married and with a daughter who’s just turned one. I’ve been writing for about five years now (though this is the first time The Shadow of What Was Lost is getting an ‘official’ release, I initially self-published it all the way back in 2014).

DJ: What is The Shadow of What Was Lost about?

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James: In a lot of ways it’s a traditional epic fantasy, following a young group from humble beginnings into this huge, world-threatening conflict – think the tone of The Wheel of Time series. So there’s coming-of-age stories, multiple intersecting plots, plenty of magic and action and intrigue as you’re introduced to the world. But at its core, it’s about this dark threat against the world, and the main characters figuring out what it is and how to deal with it.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Shadow of What Was Lost, and The Licanius trilogy?

James: The series I just mentioned, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, is probably most easily identifiable as an influence on the book. Another big one would be Brandon Sanderson’s work on Mistborn and Stormlight Archives.

Of course, other stories generally – including genres other than fantasy, and media other than books – are always influences too. If I’ve really enjoyed something about a narrative, I think it’s inevitably going to shape how I look at my own work! Continue reading

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Free Ebook Alert: Infomancy by Malka Older

On Election Day, Tor.com Publishing is offering free digital copies of Malka Older’s Infomocracy, the acclaimed near-future political thriller where campaigns play out on a global scale, debates and advertisements are instantly annotated, and the manipulation of information has never been more sophisticated—or more powerful.

For 48 hours only, readers worldwide can download the ebook edition of Infomocracy for free by signing up for the Tor.com Publishing newsletter.

Learn more below!


About the Book:

“Kinetic and gripping, the plot hurtles toward an electoral climax that leaps off the page.” —NPR
 
It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party andget a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Infomocracy is Malka Older’s debut novel and the first in The Centenal Cycle series, followed by the upcoming Null States.

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About the Tor.com Publishing newsletter: 

This monthly newsletter includes the latest updates on Tor.com Publishing titles from authors like Nnedi Odorafor, Laurie Penny, Victor LaValle, Brian Evenson, and many more, including excerpts, sweepstakes, exclusive content, and author features.

How to redeem the free ebook edition of Infomocracy

Visit http://giveaway.tor.com/ between midnight (12:00 AM EST) on Tuesday, November 8th, and 11:59 P.M. EST on Wednesday, November 9th to sign up for the Tor.com Publishing newsletter and download the DRM-free ebook. This offer is available globally.

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About the Author:

Malka Older is a writer, humanitarian worker, and PhD candidate at the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations studying governance and disasters. Named Senior Fellow for Technology and Risk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for 2015, she has more than eight years of experience in humanitarian aid and development, and has responded to complex emergencies and natural disasters in Uganda, Darfur, Indonesia, Japan, and Mali.


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Author Interview: Cindy Koepp

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Today I am interviewing Cindy Koepp, author of the new science fiction novel, The Loudest Actions, follow up to Remnant in the Stars.

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

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

Cindy Koepp: Wellllll… These days, I live near Des Moines, Iowa and work as an optician for my day job. In previous adventures, I’ve been a tech support nerd, elementary school teacher, and tropical bird specialist.

My only pet is my African Grey, Masika. She’s nuts and more than a little paranoid. There is cause, though. She’s a rescued bird who has had 4 owners that we know about. We (the previous owners and I) can account for about 30 years, but I suspect she’s a good deal older than that. Cataracts are forming in one eye.

When I’m not whistling with a crazy African Grey or mangling and wrangling glasses, I write science fiction and fantasy and do crafty stuff like quilting, beadwork, and other projects that look like fun.

DJ: What is The Loudest Actions about?

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Cindy: It’s about 96,000 words or so. 😀

The crew of Gyrfalcon, along with Sora’s youngest daughter, are back for another adventure. This time, they’re escorting a negotiator to the formal First Contact meeting with an alien insect race called Montans in one of their three cities. Unfortunately, the negotiator has a chip on his shoulder the size of the average spiral galaxy. The locals don’t like him, but he refuses to allow anyone else to handle the negotiation.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Loudest Actions?

Cindy: Wow, is that a varied list. Let’s see…

The first novel, Remnant in the Stars, lends its characters and the world building to this one. It also had its start as a few role-playing game scenarios. GURPS Space, actually. Those became short stories, which mutated … a lot … until they turned into Remnant in the Stars. My webpage has the chronology of how that occurred. Many of those influences continue in The Loudest Actions.

The Montans have no verbal language. One group communicates through hand signs, another through pictures, and a third through something like Morse Code. This is not the first time I’ve featured alien races with no verbal language. Remnant in the Stars had the Numodyne, who communicated through mental impressions. The idea of communicating through alternate means came from the various parrots I’ve had over the years. Whether or not they were talkers, they all communicated to me through various noises and posturing.

Another influence was Janet Kagan’s Hellspark. That book featured a race of sentient critters who were perfectly attuned to their environment.

The idea of a kid who learns differently came from some of the lovely little coconuts I taught in elementary. There were a couple in particular who were smart kids, but they didn’t learn by the usual means. Once I figured out what made them tick, they took off like a rocket and were able to do things no one else could.

I know people with PTSD who do fine until something triggers persistent memories and nightmares for a while, so that influenced one of the characters.

I also know someone who lost a job due to a disability, and that affected another character in the tale. Sadly, this person recently experienced that again (or at least was offered a demotion because of her disability – even though she was doing the job fine – and chose to leave the company instead).

One of the characters has a heavy Texas drawl. I grew up in Texas, and lived there until just a couple months ago. Sometimes, I can affect that heavy drawl myself. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alex White

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Today I am interviewing Alex White, author of the new fantasy novel, Every Mountain Made Low.

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

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

Alex White: I live to create: photography, board games, books, music, you name it–and I take all that random stuff seriously. I’ve done videos for Presidents, released a few albums, and I’m finishing up my eighth book. I’ve even got an app in the Google Play store called Capta. The video work and the writing have been profitable for me. I can’t attest to the quality of that other stuff. J

For better or worse, I was born and raised in the American Deep South, where I live today. That’s probably why I’m always making things. I wasn’t into sports, church and cable television, so I had a lot of time on my hands.

DJ: What is Every Mountain Made Low about?

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Alex: Here’s my pitch: An autistic, working-class lesbian must make a deal with vicious ghosts to topple a capitalist oligarchy. It falls squarely into the New Weird camp with little regard for genre, considering it has elements of urban fantasy, dystopian, horror and thriller. It’s a close, small story with a lot of personal drama, but no one is going to destroy the world / galaxy / multiverse. It’s a conflict for the future of the South. The stakes are everything for my main character, though, and we see everything through her eyes.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Every Mountain Made Low?

Alex: I immediately think of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale because of the colorful characters and pervasive inequality portrayed through their lives.

Oddly, Ayn Rand was a strong influence, too. Not a positive one, but something I wanted to write against. I find the philosophies in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead disgusting, because at their core, they’re about taking anything you want without regard for those around you. Howard Roark isn’t a team player, he destroys housing for underprivileged citizens in his best moment and rapes Dominique Francon at his worst. How can people look to him as an example of how to live? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Thomas Gondolfi

71evnhrbnrl-_ux250_Today I am interviewing Thomas Gondolfi, author of the science fiction novel, Toy Wars and the CorpGov Chronicles.

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

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

Thomas Gondol: Wow, way to put a person on the spot. I’m a father of three grown children, loving husband and I think a Renaissance man. My wife calls me a certified flirt (who would be the organization that would control that?). I’ve been a board and role play gamer for pretty much all of my life.

DJ: What is Toy Wars about?

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Thomas: Toy Wars is a story where a 2m-tall, purple, robotic teddy bear is the only sentient being on a distant planet. He was created as a desperate experiment as his “mother” is losing a war against other killer toys.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Toy Wars?

Thomas: I used to play a board game called “Panzer Leader.” It has cardboard chits to represent platoon level groups in WWII. One day I was pulling a destroyed unit off the board wondering what that paper chit or imaginary platoon thought of the made-up war they fought. In the background a Looney Toon was playing. It didn’t take my twisted mind long to combine the two. Toys fighting wars. Toy Wars.

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

Thomas: The purple teddy bear is alone with no one to teach him about being alive. None of the other toys at the beginning of the book are sentient. He begins life being very dogmatic like the robot that he is but he is feeling things his user’s manual says can’t happen. He must learn about the emotions we take for granted while he is trying to save his way of life. He eventually names himself Don Quixote as he thinks he might be just a bit insane and feels his quest is perhaps impossible. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephanie Burgis

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Today I am interviewing Stephanie Burgis, author of the new historical fantasy novel, Congress of Secrets.

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

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

Stephanie Burgis: Sure! I’m a fantasy writer and a history geek. I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, spent a few years living in Vienna, and now live in Wales, surrounded by castles and coffeeshops. (My favorite combination!) I write fun, funny MG fantasy novels and wildly romantic historical fantasy novels for adults.

DJ: What is Congress of Secrets about?

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Stephanie: In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, charming conman Michael Steinhüller plans his riskiest scheme yet…and hidden among the celebrating aristocrats and royals of the continent is a woman with a dark, alchemical secret. The sinister forces that shattered Karolina Vogl’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?

DJ: What were some of your influences for Congress of Secrets?

Stephanie: In terms of literary influences, I’m definitely writing in the footsteps of Judith Tarr, Ellen Kushner, Guy Gavriel Kay, Patricia McKillip, Delia Sherman and Nalo Hopkinson. (And I devour every new story they write!) Continue reading

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Author Interview: Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler

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Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow. It was created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction. From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it was intended to help us share our love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.


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Rob Ziegler

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Bradley P. Beaulieu

Today I am interviewing Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler, authors of the new science-fiction novella, The Burning Light.

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DJ: Hey Bradley and Rob! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Bradley P. Beaulieu: Sure thing. I’m the epic fantasy author of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai and The Winds of Khalakovo. That may seem a bit odd, as what we have in The Burning Light is most decidedly not epic fantasy, but I’ve been known to dabble in science fiction now and again. It’s all been short fiction so far, this new project with Rob being the longest foray into sci-fi for me to date.

My tastes in terms of writing and reading are pretty similar. I tend to like longer tales with a wide cast of characters. I like worlds that are both broad and deep. And I like the spec-fictional elements to have bearing not just on the world, but to have real meaning and consequences to the people who use it, often to the point that those elements are world changing to some degree. Some of my main influences are J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, C. S. Friedman, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, and Stephen R. Donaldson.

Rob Ziegler: I’m the author of the novel Seed. It’s the story of a young scavenger cum highwayman trying to save his younger brother from a giant agri-corp in a southwest ravaged by climate change. It has the feel of a western by way of The Road Warrior.

I write full time. Currently I’m working on my second novel, Angel City, as well as the occasional side project like The Burning Light. Over the years I’ve basically done everything—landscape design, IT, bartending, real estate management. My wife and I live a mostly chill life in western Colorado. We hike a lot.

DJ: What is The Burning Light about?

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Bradley/Rob: The Burning Light is a sci-fi thriller set in a world which has just begun to recover from climate-change. The emerging order is based on connectivity. People are connected–very connected, organized into collectives. Through the flooded canals of Old New York, it follows a young addict named Zola as she chases the Burning Light, a “communal drug” so addictive it can lay entire collectives to waste. But Zola is being chased as well, by a disgraced government operative named Colonel Melody Chu.

The story follows Zola as she tries to find the truth about the light, while Colonel Chu tries to find Zola and stop her before the Light causes even more devastation. What they find together is something neither of them expected.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Burning Light?

Continue reading

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