Monthly Archives: May 2017

Author Interview: Ryland Thorn

Today I am interviewing Ryland Thorn, author of the new grimdark fantasy novel, Blood, first book of The Fae-Born Narratives.

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

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

Ryland Thorn: Thanks, DJ. What would like to know? I’m a long-time fantasy fan who grew up reading people like David Gimmell and Raymond E Feist and Orson Scott Card, and always knew that I was going to be a writer.

To begin, with that meant writing millions of words in the corporate world, but that was really boring!

So I’m now back doing what I always wanted to do, which is to write fiction.

I’m lucky enough to have been accepted into the groundbreaking Phoenix Prime author program, which is leading a fundamental change in the digital publishing world.

Other than that, I live in the spectacular Nelson region of New Zealand with my wife and a couple of cats, I spend most of my waking hours in front of the computer, and I like to get out and go kayaking or for a ride on my bike.

DJ: What Blood about?

Ryland: Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

What is the cost of revenge?

Overwhelmed by grief and hate, Marin Terrell is an empath who joins a company of soldiers to hunt down the wyverns and dragon that murdered his master.

His purpose is vengeance.

But when the soldiers manage to corner one of the wyverns, the outcome is awful. Haunted by visions of blood and monsters and his own painful death, Marin starts to have second thoughts. He wants to abandon the quest, but the leader of the soldiers is a tyrant who gives him no choice but to go on, no matter the peril.

Will they find the creatures they hunt? And if they do, how will Marin find a way to survive the carnage that will ensue?

What isn’t in the blurb is that Blood is the first of the novel length stories in the Fae-Born Narratives, but I have written a few short stories in the series as well. The idea is to create a world of complexity and depth that I’m hoping people will enjoy.

In terms of subject and tone, imagine what would have happened if Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series had been written by David Gemmell instead. Continue reading

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New-Release Spotlight: Light Dawning by Ty Arthur

About the Book:

Once known as the City on the Hill and revered far and wide for its independence and boundless opportunity, Cestia has become home only to the damned. Surviving under the brutal occupation of a southern empire for three long years, the oppressed populace has lost hope of liberation, turning instead towards an increasingly desperate rebellion willing to commit any atrocity for a chance at freedom.

As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Isabelle Steiger

Today I am interviewing Isabelle Steiger, debut author of The Empire’s Ghost, the first book in a new epic fantasy series.

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

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

Isabelle Steiger: This is the very first piece of writing I’ve ever gotten published, so I don’t imagine many readers are familiar with me. I was born in New York City, and I moved back there when I started college, after a ten-year stint in the country. When I was a kid, I used to take a notebook up to the highest hill by my house to write, but these days the diner on the corner serves just as well.

DJ: What is The Empire’s Ghost about?

Isabelle: A dictator calling himself Imperator Elgar has already conquered half of the continent of Lantistyne, but he won’t rest until he rules it all. He’s determined to recreate Elesthene, a continent-spanning empire that history paints as both majestic and terrifying. The novel follows the struggles of two different groups of people: the rulers of the countries Elgar has yet to conquer, who are desperate to find a way to defeat him, and a found family of not-quite-law-abiding commoners trying to keep themselves and each other safe after Elgar decides he wants to use their skills for his own ends.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Empire’s Ghost and the series as a whole?

Isabelle: Fantastic worlds that feel like they’ve existed for centuries before the author decided to tell this particular story—the works of Patrick Rothfuss, George R. R. Martin, Garth Nix, and Tamora Pierce come most easily to mind, though I’m sure I could think of many others. Continue reading

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Today I am interviewing C.A. Higgins, author of the new science-fiction novel, Radiate, final book of the Lightless trilogy.

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DJ: Hey C.A.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

C.A. Higgins: Lightless was my first book, written while I was in college studying physics. After I graduated I decided to write novels and work in theater, just like my parents always hoped, but I still have a great interest in both science and science fiction.

DJ: What is Radiate and then the Lightless trilogy about?

C.A.: In the first book, Lightless, the small crew of a top-secret and highly advanced military spacecraft (the Ananke) discover a stowaway aboard their ship. They quickly learn he has connections to a terrorist (the Mallt-y-Nos) determined to overthrow their dystopian society, but the stowaway—Ivan—isn’t as helpless as he may seem. Meanwhile, the Ananke itself has been acting strangely, almost as if it were trying to communicate.

The second novel, Supernova, is about the Mallt-y-Nos herself; the heroine of Lightless, Althea; and Ananke, now a sentient machine; as they navigate the chaos of the solar system resulting from the end of Lightless. Radiate follows two characters who were missing from the events of Supernova: Ivan and his companion Mattie. In contrast to the heroines of Supernova, who all have a great deal of influence, for better or worse, over the state of the solar system, Ivan and Mattie are almost swallowed up in the chaos of the civil war. They’re desperately trying to survive, to catch up to the Mallt-y-Nos, to maybe right some of the wrongs they’ve caused—and to avoid the Ananke, who’s hunting them across the solar system and drawing ever closer. And, despite the immense loyalty and affection we saw between the two men in Lightless, their relationship has a number of unresolved tensions that the stress of their situation starts to bring out. Continue reading

Author Interview: C.A. Higgins

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Author Interview: Julie Czerneda

Today I am interviewing Julie rafzerneda, editor of the new anthology, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017.

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

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

Julie Czerneda: Hello! Like your readers, I love science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been writing my own since I was ten. In one of those odd twists careers can take, I went from biologist to professional non-fiction author and editor. My first SF anthology as editor was Packing Fraction and Other Tales of Science and Imagination, which came out in 1999 from Trifolium Books. Not surprisingly, it was intended for science classrooms and I wrote an annotated guide for educators No Limits: Developing Scientific Literacy Using Science Fiction.

This was about the time my own fiction writing took off, and I’ve been doing that full time ever since, proud and delighted to be published by DAW Books NY for (gasp) twenty years. Between the novels, I kept doing anthologies because how better to learn the craft than read wonderful authors? The Showcase is my sixteenth.

DJ: What is Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 about? What are some reasons readers that readers like to pick it up?

Julie: Because it’s FABULOUS! ::coughs:: Which is a reason, but I should explain. The Nebula Awards Showcase is the prize we readers get, being able to hold in our hands a cross-section of the works from 2016 recognized as exceptional by the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA). The anthology lists every past and present winner, plus the 2016 nominees, which of itself is fascinating, but best of all? It’s full of stories and their creators’ passion. There are whole short stories, the winning novella and novelettes, plus novel excerpts. There’s an excerpt from the Andre Norton Award winner as well, for best YA. You’ll find the Rhsyling poetry winners. There’s a wealth of material in honour of C.J. Cherryh, who became a SFWA Grand Master in 2016, including an essay by Betsy Wollheim. There’s Michelle Sagara’s moving tribute to the late Sir Terry Pratchett, awarded the Kate Wolhelm Solstice Award for his contributions to the genre, as well as some cool behind-the-scenes about Mad Max: Fury Road by Mark Askwith, the film that won the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. Altogether? It’s, well, fabulous stuff.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Andy Lane and Nigel Foster

Photo Credit: Helen Stirling


Today I am interviewing Andy Lane and Nigel Foster, authors of the new fantasy novel, Netherspace, first book in the Netherspace series.

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DJ: Hey Andy and Nigel! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Andy Lane: I took a degree in Physics and spent twenty seven long years working for the British Ministry of Defence, largely providing scientific advice and analysis to the Army and the Air Force and working on predicting the shape of future warfare. In my spare time I’d been building up a parallel career as a writer, given my life-long love of writing science fiction. A few years back I left the Civil Service and went freelance, which was (next to asking my then-girlfriend to marry me) the best decision I’ve ever made.

Nigel Foster: Former soldier, Intelligence Corps, then advertising, PR, tv and radio all over the world, then journalist and author. So your average media gypsy. Wrote a best-seller about the Royal Marines Commandos, also developed and launched OK! Magazine. Weird combination, I know.

DJ: What is Netherspace about?

Andy: It’s about 90,000 words. No, I kid. It’s about a universe where communication between races is impossible – we’re all just too different. It’s about the various accommodations that have to be made in order for us all just to get along, and what happens when we reach the limits of those accommodations. It’s also about the J.B.S.Haldane quote: “It is my supposition that the Universe in not only queerer than we imagine, is queerer than we can imagine.” How do we, how can we, live in a universe that we don’t, can’t, understand?

Nigel: What happens when we can’t communicate with aliens; and Earth gets colonised by their technology, curiously exchanged for common household items. It’s about what lies and what lives beneath the space-time continuum. It’s the story of three humans reluctantly sent to discover how Earth can regain control Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tarn Richardson

Today I am interviewing Tarn Richardson, author of the new horror / historical fiction novel, The Risen, final book of The Darkest Hand trilogy.

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DJ: Hey Tarn! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! Horror? Historical Fiction? How exactly would you describe The Darkest Hand trilogy?

TR: Hey DJ! Yes, there’s quite a mix of genres within the books! They’re hard to define. The trilogy could be called horror, but it’s quite ‘measured’ horror I suppose. The nasty bits are there for a reason, not simply to be gratuitous for the sake of it. There’s a lot of historical backdrop (of World War One), the wars and its events heavily researched by me before writing, details of the actual battles and specific theatres of the war. There’s a thriller aspect to the books, particularly books two and three. And a paranormal crime slant, as well. I tend to describe it as ‘Dark Fiction’. That covers all bases!

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

TR: I live in England, near Salisbury, not far from Stonehenge! I’ve worked as a copywriter and have written Murder Meal Party Games. In 2012, I travelled to France and Belgium on the trail of a Great Uncle who went out to fight in WW1 and never came back. Whilst there, the idea for The Darkest Hand trilogy planted its seed and then grew within me. In 2015 the first of the books of the trilogy, THE DAMNED, was published by Duckworth Overlook and by Overlook Press in 2016, THE FALLEN following a year later.

DJ: What is The Risen and The Darkest Hand trilogy about?

TR: The Darkest Hand trilogy is an epic story set in the backdrop of the First World War. The Catholic Inquisition, still strong but now working in the shadows, sends its most powerful, but flawed, inquisitor, Poldek Tacit, to investigate the murder of a Cardinal within the city of Arras at the start of the war. Teaming up with the beautiful Sister Isabella to solve the crime together they uncover a dark conspiracy that leads to very heart of the Vatican and beyond.

THE RISEN, the final part of the trilogy, sees our heroes face Russian revolution and the rise of the Antichrist in the closing phase of the war, searching for a way in which he can be defeated before he assumes ultimate power within the world and casts it into endless dark.

It’s a vast and complex piece of work, but one which hopefully speeds through at a rate of knots and leaves with the reader at the end with that lingering sense of wonder that sometimes remains after reading a book set deep within true and startling events. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ty Arthur

Today I am interviewing Ty Arthur, author of the new grimdark, fantasy, and horror novel, Light Dawning.

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

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

Ty Arthur: It’s my pleasure DJ, appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. I live in the perpetually-freezing Montana and have been working as a freelancer writer and editor for nearly a decade now. I mostly covered entertainment news and didn’t get serious about fiction until a few years back when I picked a horror anthology at my local library for my family’s annual horror fest. We like to mostly read chilling tales or watch scary movies throughout October while building up to Halloween. This particular set of short tales left me incredibly dissatisfied, with several of the stories barely even qualifying as horror in any sense of the word. That prompted me to give short story writing a shot, drawing on past experiences to come up with a few topics that could be twisted and viewed through a fictional supernatural horror lens. Those first few stories were pretty rough, but after a few tries I felt like I had something worth reading and started submitting to various open calls for fiction, which anyone who has ever endured that landmine of rejections will know is quite the exhausting experience. Eventually I had two shorts published in anthologies, which led to my longer sci-fi novella Empty getting noticed by a publisher. Now here we are with my full-length novel Light Dawning finally coming out as I get started on several other projects in the horror genre to follow.

DJ: What is Light Dawning about?

Ty: The basic surface story follows a group of people dealing with living every day life while their city is occupied by an invading army. The city is on lockdown, so they can’t leave, and it examines how these characters deal with the harsh realities of their current situations in different ways. One wants to hide and survive as long as possible without drawing attention for instance, while another sees the occupation as grand testing of faith and an opportunity to turn the city towards his religion’s teachings. Eventually the main characters are forced out of hiding when they come into contact with cosmic forces that aren’t particularly interested in whether mankind lives or dies.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Light Dawning?

Ty: On the literary front, I wanted to take the traditional tropes of some of my favorite fantasy authors as a kid like Goodkind, Brooks, Greenwood etc. but turn them completely on their heads. I left the elves and dwarves behind. There isn’t a chosen one here certain to rise above adversity and save the world. A humble farm boy doesn’t go on an epic journey to become a sword master or arch wizard. Magic is by and large a very bad thing here, because if anyone in this particular universe finds themselves with supernatural powers, it probably means they drew the attention of some insane cosmic being far beyond human comprehension. On the story front, Light Dawning follows the pattern of all my releases so far and translates a personal experience into a fictional setting. Writing is my cathartic outlet, and I started penning this story after my wife and I experienced two devastating miscarriages that had me in the grips of an extreme depression. My way out was to write a story as unrelentingly bleak as my world had become. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jack Campbell

Today I am interviewing Jack Campbell, author of the new military SF, space opera novel, Vanguard, first book of The Genesis Fleet series.

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

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

Jack Campbell: I’m a retired US Navy officer who lives in southern Maryland with my wife and three kids. I’ve lived a lot of places and done a lot of different jobs, but basically I’m a sailor. I started writing seriously back in the mid-1990s, mostly science fiction and fantasy, but a few other things as well. Vanguard will be my 30th book in print.

DJ: What Vanguard about?

Jack: Humanity is expanding rapidly into new star systems, many people wanting to leave behind the rules and restrictions on crowded worlds. But when they left behind the old restrictions, they also left the old protections that had maintained order. When some of the new worlds decide to take advantage of their neighbors, seeing opportunity for power and gain where others had seen freedom, the new worlds have to depend on improvised weapons and volunteers to defend themselves. If they fail, the growing power of aggressor worlds could turn regions founded on freedom into the first interstellar empires.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Vanguard and The Genesis Fleet series?

Jack: Vanguard is a prequel of sorts to the popular Lost Fleet series, with The Genesis Fleet series showing how and why the Lost Fleet’s Alliance first formed. It’s the Lost Fleet universe still in terms of how things work and in familiar star systems. I had to keep Vanguard consistent with that.

My other influences are the authors I admire who told big stories. Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett, Robert Heinlein, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and C. J. Cherryh, just to name a few. I have to add Tolkien to that mix, because he showed me the importance of building a big, new world where everything makes sense in the context of that world. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson

Today I am interviewing Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson, editors of the new superhero anthology, Behind the Mask: An Anthology of Heroic Proportions.

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DJ: Hey Tricia and Kyle! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Tricia Reeks: I am the founder of Meerkat Press and the editor of Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology. I recently transplanted from Atlanta to a mountainside in Asheville, North Carolina where me, my husband and my two ferocious French bulldogs do our best to stay out of the way of the bears and wild-turkeys. I am a lover of great stories and can’t complain that my job at Meerkat Press is finding them!

Kyle Richardson: Hey there, DJ. Thanks for having us. Officially, I have three titles that I’m grateful for: father, husband, and struggling writer (a joyful emphasis on the struggling part). I’m an American Canadian, I think long walks on the beach are best done with steampunk goggles on, and I didn’t don an editor’s cap until Tricia approached me with a unique opportunity: she’d stocked up on too much red ink and needed someone to help her use it all.

DJ: What is Behind the Mask: An Anthology of Heroic Proportions about?

Tricia: I think Kyle said it best in a line from his intro: “It’s a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.”

Kyle: It’s a look at the human side of the superhero genre—as imagined by twenty talented short-fiction authors.

DJ: What were some of your influences for creating Behind the Mask: An Anthology of Heroic Proportions?

Tricia: Kyle suggested superheroes and I ran across Kelly Link’s “Origin Story,” which was such a touching view of the normal struggles of two people, Bunnatine and Biscuit, who happened to have superpowers. That story had a big impact on  the focus of the stories we chose.

Kyle: A love of illustrated superhero fiction—and a desire to show how it feels when skilled prose authors take a crack at it. Continue reading

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