Monthly Archives: January 2017

Author Interview: Thoraiya Dyer

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Today I am interviewing Thoraiya Dyer, author of the new fantasy novel, Crossroads of Canopy, first book in the Titan’s Forest series.

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

Thoraiya Dyer: Thanks for having me!

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

Thoraiya: Greetings unfamiliar readers! I’m Australian and I used to be a veterinarian with a special interest in birds. Now I’m a science fiction & fantasy writer. I live in a beautiful beachside suburb of Sydney, I’ve won awards for my short stories in venues such as Clarkesworld and Analog magazines, and my first novel, due out from Tor in the US, Crossroads of Canopy, is imminent. Eep!

DJ: What is Crossroads of Canopy about?

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Thoraiya: An enormous, magical rainforest, some 300 stories high, hosts a vast city in its canopy, with dark, unknown depths below. Unar, our stubborn protagonist, loses her sister into those depths, and the action kicks off with her heading to the Garden to avoid being sold as a slave.

DJ: What is the “Garden” and what does a “Gardener” do?

Thoraiya: There are thirteen goddesses and gods in Canopy. One for each of the thirteen Kingdoms that make up the vast, treetop city. Incarnated as humans, they need homes as well as worship. They live in their Temples. The Garden is the Temple of Audblayin, the goddess of birth and new life. It’s a walled precinct with all the rare flowers, vines and green things from the far reaches of the world, cultivated and irrigated by Gardeners. They are servants of the Temple. They tend the Garden using magic that stems from their connection to the goddess. Continue reading

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Authors to Watch Out For: 2017 Edition

Seeing as how MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape has shifted from book reviews to author interviews, it is very rare that I get write about books and authors that I have read recently (heck, I barely even get to read a book anymore).

Doing interviews with authors about their upcoming books in my way of helping spread the word, but I still feel that a review is more personal and can have a greater impact.

Because of this, I decided to do a “Authors to Watch Out For” list. It is one the same idea and many “Best Debut” lists, except this is going consist of authors that I have read since starting this blog (in 2014), up to now.

The only criteria is that their first novel be released somewhere between 2013 and 2016, or that they have finished their series somewhere in that time frame as well.

Without further ado, here is my list of Authors to Watch Out For!


Rachel Dunne

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Rachel’s debut novel, In the Shadow of the Gods, was releasted in June of 2016; it was one of the best novels I read last year and was a novel that I personally thought had all the ingredients you need to make an epic fantasy trilogy that fans will devour.

Fun-fact: In the Shadow of the Gods, was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and was then picked by Harper Voyager.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Paul Crilley

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Today I am interviewing Paul Crilley, debut author of the new buddy cop/cosmic horror novel, Department Zero.

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

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

Paul Crilley: I’m a Scottish writer adrift in South Africa. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to writing. I’ve worked on kids novels, (my own Invisible Order series, as well as The Hardy Boys), computer games, (Star Wars: The Old Republic), comics, (X-files: Conspiracy), and television (too many shows to list)

DJ: What is Department Zero about?

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Paul: It’s about multiverse theory and Cthulhu mythology. It’s also a portal fantasy, a buddy-cop type story, a story about a divorced dad trying to do right by his daughter, and it’s snarky.

The more formal pitch: Harry Priest is down and out. He’s in “biohazard remediation”, which is a fancy way of saying he cleans up crime scenes for a living. He’s divorced, and the highlight of his day is when he gets to say goodnight and read a bedtime story to his daughter. (Over the phone.)

Harry and his partner Jorge stumble onto what they think is just another crime scene at an old motel in Santa Monica, and when Jorge steals some evidence form the scene, Harry finds himself chased down by Vervet monkeys with the faces of old men (that quote Shakespeare at him), spider monsters that eat your brain, various creatures from the Cthulhu mythology, and of course, the acolytes of the Old Ones.

All this brings him into contact with Havelock Graves of the Interstitial Crime Department, an agency that polices the multiverse. The ICD works the infinite number of realities from their base in Wonderland and when Graves offers Harry a job Harry accepts. (Well, he has to. He got fired from his old job.)

Unfortunately for Harry, Graves, as well as being arrogant, loud, and over the top, is also a big fat liar. The kind whose pants are on fire. His team was demoted to Department Zero after the incident at the motel, Department Zero being the lowest department in the entire ICD.) And what does Department Zero do? They clean up crime scenes. Of the supernatural kind.

Graves wants to use Harry as bait to draw out the people that got him demoted, and this brings them into contact with a cult that worships Cthulhu and wants to free him from his prison in the Dreamlands. Cue lots of bickering, travel to alternate realities, battles, incredibly strategic and fast retreats, the Spear of Destiny, Robert E Howard-type fantasy worlds, and more bickering. Continue reading

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Guest Post: The Netwalking Space Plot Matrix by Joyce Reynolds-Ward

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Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a writer, horsewoman, former middle school learning specialist, and skier splitting her time between Portland and Enterprise, Oregon. Besides earning a SemiFinalist placement in Writers of the Future, she’s had short stories and essays published in Random Realities, M-Brane SF, The Fifth Di…, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night, Zombiefied, River, Gobshite Quarterly, Gears and Levers 1, How Beer Saved the World, Trust and Treachery, and Fantasy Scroll Magazine. Her novels in The Netwalk Sequence– Life in the Shadows: Diana and Will, Netwalk: Expanded Edition, Netwalker Uprising, and Netwalk’s Children are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites. The final installment in the Netwalk Sequence, Netwalking Space, will be available in December 2016/January 2017. Seeking Shelter at the End of the World (a cozy apocalypse) is available from eTreasures Publishing. Pledges of Honor, the first book in Goddess’s Honor, a high fantasy with a non-European setting, is now available. The prequel to Pledges, Beyond Honor, is now available, and Book Two in Goddess’s Honor, Challenges to Honor, will be available in 2017.

Joyce is also publishing short stories and novellas from the Netwalk Sequence which are illustrated using photographs of some of the pictures she has taken over the years which help illuminate the inspiration for the stories. Dahlia, Winter Shadows, and Shadow Harvest are all available on Amazon.

Examples of Joyce’s professional education writing can be found at ChildsWork.com. When not teaching, she’s often thundering about on her intrepid reining mare Mocha, living la vida ski bum, and writing. Follow Joyce’s adventures through her blog, Peak Amygdala, at www.joycereynoldsward.com.


The Netwalking Space Plot Matrix

by Joyce Reynolds-Ward

I owe a lot of the enjoyment and pleasure I had in writing Netwalking Space to a strategy I discovered when writing a previous book. In March of 2015 I had two big things going on in my life. The first was to write the next book in my science fiction series. The second was to move myself, my husband, and my horse 350 miles from Portland to Enterprise, Oregon, to begin a life split between the two places. I was already behind in getting that book out, so I couldn’t just put writing aside until most of the move was finished. But writing while moving meant that I needed to figure out how to keep track of a fairly complex book so that whenever I could snatch a moment, it would be possible to pick up the flow of my writing with minimal fuss and bother. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Seanan McGuire

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Today I am interviewing Seanan McGuire, author of the new urban fantasy novel, Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day.

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

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

Seanan McGuire: I’m an American fantasy and science fiction author, living in the Pacific Northwest with a large collection of creepy dolls, My Little Ponies, and comic books. I do not get nearly enough sleep.

DJ: What is Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day about?

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Seanan: Time. Sisters and debts and the need to stay when sometimes you really want to go, but most of all, time. It’s a ghost story and a love story and a story about the price we pay to stay ourselves.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day?

Seanan: The poetry of Martha Keller. We were fortunate enough to be able to reprint one of her poems at the front of the book.

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 with sympathize with them?

Seanan: I don’t understand this question. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ellen Klages

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Today I am interviewing Ellen Klages, Nebula and World Fantasy Award winner, and author of a new novella from tor.com, Passing Strange.

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*Please note that this interview was originally done over Skype and was then transcribed and edit to what you are reading now. This was a spoken interview and thus does not necessarily represent the author’s prose.

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

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

Ellen Klages: I’ve been writing science fiction and fantasy for about 20 year now. I won a Nebula for the novelette, “Basement Magic,” and a World Fantasy Award for “Wakulla Springs,” a novella collaboration with Andy Duncan. I’ve written two historical children’s books, Green Glass Sea; and White Sands, Red Menace.

DJ: What is Passing Strange about?

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Ellen: Passing Strange is set in San Francisco in 1940. It’s about the cities within the city, and six women who are all unconventional is one way or another. It’s set in the bohemian parts of the city: in the only gay women’s bar in San Francisco, and in a nightclub in Chinatown. The “hidden parts” of the city. 

It was inspired by pulps, noir, screwball comedies, and historicals, with a little bit of magic thrown in! Some people call it “genre-bending”, but I think it’s more “genre-blending”. Like a good stew — a little of this, a little of that.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Passing Strange

Ellen: I moved to San Francisco right out of college from the Midwest where the cities are not nearly as interesting. Forty years ago, in 1977, I started writing a short story about women in a gay bar during the World’s Fair in 1939/1940. I wrote about four scenes, and never did anything with it. But it’s stuck with me and I’ve always wanted to tell that story.

I came back to it a couple years ago and did a bunch of research on the city of the time and the Worlds Fair, and kept getting more and more excited. So finally, after 40 years, I wrote the whole story.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Pamela Murdaugh-Smith

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Today I am interviewing Pamela Murdaugh-Smith, author of the new fantasy thriller omnibus, A Biker Saga: The Novel, which is the abridged edition of her trilogy, A Biker Saga.

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

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

Pamela Murdaugh-Smith: Hi DJ! It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to talk about my work. Let’s see… I was born and raised in the south, been married for twenty-seven years, and have two children. The four of us are all members of the biker community, so naturally, the characters in my stories are bikers. Not the 1% outlaw bikers the general public is accustomed to hearing about in the media, nor the MC Romance biker-hunks that many readers enjoy, my books feature 99% bikers. Those who ride, live and love by their own rules. Of course, just like real life, the proverbial ‘ragged outlaw bikers’ almost always seem to make an appearance 🙂

DJ: What is A Biker Saga about?

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Pamela: It’s a compelling tale of family survival. A story about a biker family known as the GGS, who through no fault of their own, find themselves the prime target during an unsolicited war against bikers. The founder of their club, having been through ‘The Troubles’ across the pond and a war in the US, has spent decades building a self-sufficient safe haven, including a near replica of his ancestral castle in Ireland. Having first hand knowledge of what is possible when things go wrong in the world, they chose to live off the grid, preparing themselves for whatever may come. Book one introduces you to the main characters just days after losing their beloved founder in an accident. Before they can work through their grief, it becomes clear that random people within the biker community are being abducted, tortured and held hostage. As the GGS strives to uncover the mystery of why this is happening and who is behind it, they discover that the same unknown enemy terrorizing motorcycle clubs, is suddenly hell bent on destroying the GGS and seizing their fortress. As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed that threaten to divide the family. Paranormal visions and sightings begin to occur… You know what DJ, to keep from giving too much away, I’ll just leave your readers with this:

Imagine a castle… occupied by bikers. Now toss in two lovers, with a splash of deceit. Add a title, three jesters, and a fortress full of loyal characters. Mix with equal parts madman, power, and cold revenge. Slowly stir in a war, a political takeover, a host of faeries, one familiar wizard, and a dash of fiery dragon. Boil until greenish mist appears, and simmer before reading.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Joe M. McDermott

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Today I am interviewing Joe M. McDermott, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Fortress at the End of Time.

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

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

Joe M. McDermott: I am a pudgy, middle-aged white guy. My wife is cooler than I am.

DJ: What is The Fortress at the End of Time about?

Joe: In some ways, it is about the difference between what is sold to someone, and what is actually given. It is also about pride, and how it hardens as a survival mechanism. It is also about clones in deep space, at a miserable posting with very little hope for anything better.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Fortress at the End of Time

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Joe: The book was born out of reading other books. The first book was recommended to me by Larry Nolen from OF Blog of the Fallen. He suggested I read Dino Buzzati’s The Tartar Steppe, and I loved it and found The Opposing Shore by Julian Graq on the same Amazon page. I loved that, too. I had been tinkering with ideas about clones as a method of space travel, inspired by such authors as James Patrick Kelly, and the sort of worlds created by Ursula K. LeGuin and Maureen McHugh.

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 with sympathize with them? 

Joe: I don’t think my brain works the way yours does about characters. Quirks and habits are annoying, to me, as a reader. My characters are as human as I can possibly make them, and I push them into the prison-like pressure cooker of the Citadel. They do what I think any person would do, each in their way. If they have anything that can be described as a quirk, I’ve failed as an author attempting to create something true. Continue reading

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Author Interview: William Dresden

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Today I am interviewing William Dresden, award-wining screenwriter, and author of the new horror novel, Dead Reckoning.

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

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

William Dresden: Hi DJ! Thanks for the interview. I’ve been writing for a while now. Most of my writing has been screenwriting. I got into film when I was a teenager and ended up winning a few awards. That led me into becoming a script doctor where directors would hire me to fix problematic projects that they were working on.

DJ: What is Dead Reckoning about?

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WD: It’s a Western with heavy Horror and Fantasy influences. In it, we follow Jesse, an ex-gunslinger cursed with a supernatural ability called – the Reckoning. He has a mysterious past and is being hunted by a group of Native Americans that have an uneasy alliance with a dark force not of this world.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Dead Reckoning?

WD: I had this idea of writing a series like the x-files but set in the 1800’s. I was hugely influenced by Sergio Leone Western’s and Giallos’ like Suspiria. Stylized genre films from the late 70’s. So came the idea to spin a Western and set it where I grew up, in the North-East. A North-Eastern if you will. As a kid I used to hear these stories about an infamous gang of horse thieves that used to steal horses from the south and bring them back up north and sell them. So I went and checked out their old cabin. That set up the first scene in the book. Oh and there was this one time when I found two bucks pulled like forty feet up into a pine tree. They had begun to decay up there, so a ring of hair had formed around the base of the tree. Still don’t know how they got up there, but I tried to explain it in my book. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Elle Katharine White

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Today I am interviewing Elle Katharine White, debut author of the new historical fantasy novel, Heartstone.

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

Elle Katharine White: Thanks for having me! I’m a reader, writer, obsessive drinker of tea, textbook introvert who occasionally likes to live outside of the stereotype, and professional maker-up of imaginary worlds.

DJ: What is Heartstone about?

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Elle: Heartstone answers the question “What would Pride and Prejudice look like in a fantasy world where Mr. Darcy rode dragons and hunted monsters for a living and Elizabeth was a healer with an eavesdropping problem?”

DJ: What were some of your influences for Heartstone?

Elle: Pride and Prejudice of course, and the movie How to Train Your Dragon. I was watching that when I first came up with the idea for a mash-up.

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 with sympathize with them? (aka What makes them compelling?)

Elle: Aliza Bentaine, the main character, is a trained herbmaster and healer who, despite her skills, still can’t stomach the sight of blood. She’s also an artist, and always carries around a stick of charcoal and a scrap of paper in case an interesting subject happens across her path.
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