Monthly Archives: August 2017

Author Interview: Matt Doyle

Today I am interviewing Matt Doyle, author of the new urban science-fiction/tech noir novel, Addict, first book in The Cassie Tam Files.

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

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

Matt Doyle: Hey there! So, my name’s Matt, and I’m a UK based author. When it comes to fiction, my work tends to fall loosely into the hybrid genre classification. The reason for that is that while my tales tend to be speculative fiction at their core, I personally enjoy a lot of different types of story (spanning pretty much any type of media you can think of) and I like to mix different elements in as I go. In the case of Addict, it has a near future sci-fi setting, was influenced by urban fantasy, but is written to in part be a homage to crime noir.

When I’m not working on fiction, I also run a pop culture site, Matt Doyle Media Dot Com. If that sounds a little narcissistic as a site title, it’s because it was intended to be a central hub for my various projects. Over time though, it’s grown to not only give me a platform for my own work, but to allow me space to blog about everything from anime and video games to cryptozoology and random nonsense. At time of writing, I’m working on doing at least one post a day Mon-Fri every month, so there’s a lot of material coming out!

I mentioned projects plural there because I like to keep myself pretty busy. I’m an avid cosplayer, with a focus on crossplay, and have at least one new costume to plan and build every year. Thus far, they’ve varied from building a full fursuit of Renamon from Digimon Tamers to modifying a motorcycle helmet to play Celty Sturluson from Durarara!! On top of that, I have been known to occasionally produce physical art. I mostly work digitally, but the odd ink or pencil doodle does appear. I actually have a RedBubble shop with some of my current art plastered over a ton of different stuff.

I also occasionally write a little about past experiences. For example, I spent ten years working in the UK pro wrestling industry, not only as a wrestler but also as a referee, ring announcer, on screen manager, booker, promoter and liaison between workers and management. That comes up once in a while if I have a story to tell. I cover certain events like Bi Visibility Day each year too.

Outside that, I have a ton of social media accounts linked on my site. I’m most active on Twitter at the moment, as well as a few Facebook groups. In a way, it’s good for me, I think. I’m in that unfortunate position where I like the company of others, but I’m not very good at real-life socializing. Connecting with people online is a useful way to get around that.

DJ: What is Addict about?

Matt: OK, so as it says above, Addict is the first book in The Cassie Tam Files. Cassie herself is a PI working in a fictional city called New Hopeland, and the book follows her latest case. In this instance, she’s visited late at night by a lady named Lori Redwood who wants Cassie to look into her brother Eddie’s death. Eddie was a Virtual Reality Junkie, and the police have already declared his death to be an accidental overdose on the synthetic stimulants that most VR Junkies use, but Lori insists that this is impossible as he never used stimulants. Cassie believes that the police were probably correct, and she makes that clear to Lori, but takes the case anyway. The more that Cassie digs though, the more that things don’t seem to add up, and she soon finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. To make matters worse for our intrepid PI, she also has to deal with the fact that Lori is fast becoming the first person that she’s been attracted to since splitting with her ex-girlfriend. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tyler Wandschneider

Today I am interviewing Tyler Wandschneider, author of the new science-fiction novel, LOCKHEED ELITE.

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

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

Tyler Wandschneider: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure being here and sharing my story with you all. I’m a Seattle-based author breaking into the published world this year. I have been figuring out this writing thing for almost a decade now with a serious case of the 9-5ers that I would love to shed. 😉 By trade I am a structural engineer but really my passion is creating stories. Before Lockheed Elite, I wrote my first novel, Pandora’s Chase. I decided not to publish that one but it is available on Instafreebie for those that may be interested in reading a first novel. As my second novel, Lockheed Elite is far better, hence sending it out into the world. (I still love the story of Pandora’s Chase).

DJ: What is Lockheed Elite about?

Tyler: Lockheed Elite is about the survival of a tight knit crew who have chosen a life in space. I’m not talking about surviving the elements of space, because that doesn’t interest me. Well, surviving interests me but I think a story about people surviving other people is a much more engaging and satisfying story than man vs. nature (elements of space). I’m talking about navigating the duplicitous nature of life in space. I see there being a difficulty to police the vastness of the big and black so when we have a setting where space travel is as abundant as cars on the road are to you and I, I see flight crews banding together and adopting a kind of career doing what they need to get paid and eat. So, we zoom into Anders Lockheed and his crew. By trade, they are scavengers. They’ll get wind of an abandoned ship or something left out somewhere and they’ll head out and scrap the thing and sell the parts. They’re known for being the best at everything they do, so naturally, they become the target of the military for use as bait/puppets/decoys for a much larger target. They are drawn into a monster job where a trap is set and they take the bait. And therein starts the story and the rest of it is Anders and crew doing what needs to get done to survive and break free from the arm of both the law and the underworld. In it we have a life ransomed, secret operatives infiltrating our crew, tension, mystery and there’s even a heist, though sadly it’s not the champion of the story. You’ll also see a genious mechanic whose creative inventions help the crew in and out of trouble so that’s a bit of fun. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Margaret Killjoy

Today I am interviewing Margaret Killjoy, author of the new fantasy novella, The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion.

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

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

Margaret Killjoy: Sure! I’m a writer, which I guess is obvious. I’m also a weirdo punk anarchist transwoman and all sorts of other descriptors. I used to self-publish everything I did out of DIY ethos, but more recently I’ve moved into traditional publishing.

DJ: What is The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion about?

Margaret: It’s about Danielle Cain, a punk wanderer in search of a home and in search of answers about her best friend’s suicide. She goes to visit Freedom, Iowa, a squatted town run by anarchists, and discovers they’ve summoned a three-antlered, blood red deer to protect the town. And that hasn’t gone so well.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion?

Margaret: Most immediately, I’d probably point to the personal zines put out by people with lives like my protagonists and my own. I can think of the book I Wish There Was Something I Could Quit by Aaron Cometbus and the zine series No Gods, No Mattress by Enola Dismay off the top of my head. And there’s nothing I can write about squatters and punks that doesn’t, on some level, hearken back to reading the books Elsewhere and Never Never by Will Shetterly when I was a kid. They’re about punk rock magic in a way I’d never seen before, a way that really opened my eyes to the beauty one can find in desolate spaces. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Anna Smith Spark

Today I am interviewing Anna Smith Spark, author of the new grimdark, fantasy novel, The Court of Broken Knives, first book in the Empires of Dust series.

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

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

Anna Smith Spark: Hello DJ, and thank you for asking me! I’m a British fantasy novelist with a background in classical history and mythology. I’m a (sadly, ex-) D&D player and Warhammer fan – for a couple of glorious years, I studied the Iliad and the campaigns of Alexander the Great all day, then played David Gemmell based D&D all night. In my past lives I’ve been an English teacher, a petty bureaucrat and a fetish model. I have dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s Syndrome.

DJ: What is The Court of Broken Knives about?

Anna: Aha ha ha. The big question. Broken Knives is my response to the hero myths and legends that I’ve loved since childhood – the Iliad, the Eddas, Beowulf, the Tain, Tolkien. It’s about violence and the cult of the war leader. Why we fight and die, why we follow someone to death. Why human society has always fetishized violence, seen prowess in war as admirable.  

It’s basically a fairly standard fantasy set-up: in a decadent city, a nobleman schemes to save his world through violence, hires a company of mercenaries to do the changing. But a member of the company has a dark secret. And violence has a way of getting out of control.

It’s grimdark epic fantasy with poetry, Joycean stream-of-consciousness battle scenes, and rude jokes. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Leonie Postma

Today I am interviewing Leonie Postma, author of the new dystopian sci-fi novel, Samir.

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

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

Leonie Postma: Thanks DJ, for inviting me here. Sure. I’m Dutch, and grew up in Amsterdam and some years in France. After my studies, I worked for a number of years in Namibia and Angola, after which I came back to the Netherlands again. Currently, my base is Amsterdam, but I stay several months a year in Portugal, which is for me the perfect place to write, while helping out on a farm. Besides writing and farming, I work as a trainer and project evaluator on freelance basis, and love to go for long walks.

DJ: What is Samir about?

Leonie: Samir is the story of a refugee in what seems to be a beautiful and peaceful place, a place I refer to in the book as the Centre. The story explores our desire to create and believe in utopia, beautiful places where all is good, and where, sometimes, we can forget that what is good for one, is not always good for the other. It’s also a story that question’s the manufacturability of a society: is it possible to create what we want? Are we, as humans, able to control it all? Or will there always be a dark side in whatever we make – whether it is new technology or a new type of society – a side we didn’t want to see, or which we forgot to take into account?

DJ: What were some of your influences for Samir?

Leonie: Maybe it sounds a bit clichéd, but Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico and the current influx of refugees in Europe inspired me to write Samir. When reading about all this, I was wondering: what would happen if someone decides to set up safe heavens, where refugees can live in peace and get everything they need: food, facilities, clothes, in return for forty hours of labor. And what will happen if we make everyone practice mindfulness and meditate at least once a day, so that they can experience living in the here and now. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Wendy Hammer

Today I am interviewing Wendy Hammer, author of the new urban fantasy omnibus Cross Cutting.

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

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

Wendy Hammer: Hi! Sure thing. My go-to three word introduction is: Reader, Writer, Weirdo. It covers most of the bases. I’ve been a voracious reader almost my whole life and I love to write. This is handy because I teach English at a community college for a living. The weirdo part speaks to personality, I suppose. I like eccentrics, oddities, and quirk. I’m a geek. I will talk about Dragon Age, Hannibal, Nimona, and other favorites all day long. 

DJ: What is the Cross Cutting series about?

Wendy: It’s about Trinidad O’Laughlin, a woman who can magically bond with a territory in order to protect it, and her search for a home to call her own. She comes to Indiana in response to a cry for help and in hopes of reconnecting with an old friend. There, she confronts waves of murderous monsters who travel through cuts between our world and their own. Each major story in the collection focuses on a different cut and a new piece of the puzzle. The second section of the collection is from her friend Ache’s point of view, but Trinidad never takes a backseat. In the end, it’s her story.  

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Cross Cutting series

Wendy: A mishmash of RPG warden/bard/ranger character classes, Irish and Trinidadian culture, classic punk music, my favorite horror movies, and likely all the other media I’ve consumed over the years.  Continue reading

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From DJ to MD: Year 1 in the Books


Okay, so this post is long overdue. I mean long, long, long overdue. I am finally typing this up on Friday night August 11…. I first my first year of medical in May XD I know; I’m that good. What’s even funnier is that today was also the end of Term 3! Which means that this post is technically a term late XD

Continue reading

Author Interview: Nina Allan

Today I am interviewing Nina Allan, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Rift.

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

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

Nina Allan: Hi, and thanks for having me! I’m a British writer, with a keen lifelong interest in speculative fiction across all genres. I’ve published more than fifty short stories and a couple of collections. My first novel The Race was shortlisted for the Kitschies Red Tentacle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. I live and work on the Isle of Bute, in western Scotland. The Rift is my second novel.

DJ: What is The Rift about?

Nina: The Rift is about two sisters, Selena and Julie. Julie disappeared at the age of seventeen, leaving her family devastated and unable to come to terms with what happened. Twenty years later, Selena receives a telephone call from someone claiming to be Julie, saying she has spent time on another planet and that she wants her return to the world to be kept secret. The woman seems in every way to be Julie, but Selena can’t bring herself to believe the story she tells about herself. She has to make a decision: is Julie really her sister or not? And how much of what she says is a fantasy, an explanation for the real trauma she experienced when she was abducted?

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Rift?

Nina: That’s such a difficult question to answer, because the novel changed so much while I was writing it. The Rift was originally going to be a more straightforward alien abduction story. I’m fascinated by that phenomenon, and more particularly by the many testimonies recorded from people who claim to have been the victims. Again and again, you see a gulf opening up when a friend or close family member claims to have experienced something that people on the outside of that experience find difficult and more often impossible to believe. At some point that theme – the idea of difference that arises out of absence or separation – began to take over from the aliens themselves. A key influence was Joan Lindsay’s novel Picnic at Hanging Rock, which a lot of people will know through Peter Weir’s film adaptation. One scene in particular – where the miraculously returned Irma is brought into school to say goodbye to her classmates – kept coming back to me. It’s an odd scene, a supremely powerful scene, because you would imagine the other girls would be delighted to see their comrade again, but what you get instead is a barely repressed violence, an anger that she knows something and is refusing to tell them. These are the kinds of ideas The Rift ends up exploring. Continue reading

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Author Interview: RJ Barker

Today I am interviewing RJ Barker, author of the new fantasy novel, Age of Assassins, first book in the Wounded Kingdom series.

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

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

RJ Barker: Yes! Glad to. I live in Leeds, which is in Yorkshire in the UK. I’m married to Lindy and we have a little boy and a cat called Bertie. The little boy isn’t called Bertie. He’s called Rook. And we live in flat in a very old mansion that we fill with taxidermy and odd art. We surround ourselves with things that make us happy. I advise doing this wherever possible in life.

DJ: What is Age of Assassins about?

RJ: It’s a murder mystery, at its heart. And a story about the relationship between a boy, Girton Club-Foot (our hero and the book’s narrator) and Merela Karn, who has brought him up and trained him. They’re trapped in a castle and forced to find out who wants to murder the heir. It’s a pressure-cooker environment[1] and it forces Girton into a position he’s very uncomfortable with, which makes him examine himself. And of course, as it’s a fantasy book there’s also magic and intrigue and swordfights. All the good stuff.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Age of Assassins and the series?

RJ: I’m a big lover of history and I’d been writing a short play about Margaret of Anjou, so that’s in there, and I’m a HUGE fan of the King Arthur myth as well. From the other side Agatha Christie is in there and there are definite influences from American crime writers like James Lee Burke and Robert Crais. And I’ve always been a bit of an outsider, too[2], so that feeds into the creation of Girton. He’s very much on the outside of a world looking in. Continue reading

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New-Release Spotlight: All These Worlds by Dennis E. Taylor

About the Book:

Being a sentient spaceship really should be more fun. But after spreading out through space for almost a century, Bob and his clones just can’t stay out of trouble.

They’ve created enough colonies so humanity shouldn’t go extinct. But political squabbles have a bad habit of dying hard, and the Brazilian probes are still trying to take out the competition. And the Bobs have picked a fight with an older, more powerful species with a large appetite and a short temper.

Still stinging from getting their collective butts kicked in their first encounter with the Others, the Bobs now face the prospect of a decisive final battle to defend Earth and its colonies. But the Bobs are less disciplined than a herd of cats, and some of the younger copies are more concerned with their own local problems than defeating the Others.

Yet salvation may come from an unlikely source. A couple of eighth-generation Bobs have found something out in deep space. All it will take to save the Earth and perhaps all of humanity is for them to get it to Sol — unless the Others arrive first.

Continue reading

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