Monthly Archives: April 2018

Author Interview: Jennifer Brozek


Photo by Mrinabh Dutta

Today I am interviewing Jennifer Brozek, author of the new Arkham Horror novella, To Fight the Black Wind.

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DJ: Hi Jennifer! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Jennifer Brozek: Thank you for having me. I am an award winning tie-in author, editor, RPG designer, and small press publisher. I’ve worked in the publishing industry since 2004, starting as an RPG designer. I leveled up to a published author in 2005, as an editor in 2009, and as a small press publisher in 2012. These days, I mostly write original fiction and tie-in fiction as well as edit anthologies.

DJ: What is To Fight the Black Wind about?


Jennifer: This is the origin story for the Arkham Horror character psychologist Carolyn Fern. More than that, it is a deep dive into the mind of Josephine Ruggles and into the Dreamlands from Mythos universe. While trying to cure Josephine of her delusions, Dr. Fern discovers that some delusions more real than others and that the world isn’t as solid or as stable as she thought it was.

DJ: What were some of your influences for To Fight the Black Wind?

Jennifer: As To Fight the Black Wind is set within the Lovecraft universe, the Lovecraft stories with their lush prose and extensive descriptions influenced me. But modern day authors like Seanan McGuire, Ken Scholes, Ruthanna Emrys, and Silvia Morena- Garcia also inspire me with their excellent command of the language and intriguing stories. While drafting To Fight the Black Wind, I discovered the myth of the three fates–Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos–leant itself well to the story I was writing. The three main characters within the novella take on aspects of these three legendary women. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kim D. Hunter


Today I am interviewing kim d. hunter, author of the new short-story collection, The Official Report on Human Activity (Wayne State University Press, 2018). It’s his first work of fiction. hunter’s work prior to this was primarily poetry. He served as Poet-in-Residence in several Detroit public schools through the InsideOut Literary Arts Project. He co-directed the Woodward Line Poetry Series for 13 years. The series was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit in 2013.

His poems appear in “they say triangle – 6X6 #35” “Black Renaissance Noire” “What I Say, Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America” “Rainbow Darkness,” “Abandon Automobile,” and elsewhere. He has published two collections of poetry: “borne on slow knives (Past Tents, 2001) and “edge of the time zone” (white print inc., 2009). He received a Kresge Literary Arts Fellowship in 2012 for an earlier version of his published fiction.

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DJ: Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Kim D. Hunter: My literary life began with and has been mostly focused on poetry, , Baraka (then LeRoi Jones), Plath, cummings, Brooks. Those writers were my adolescent world and I identified with being a poet most of my life. I did write one short story back in the late 80s that I’m revising to this day. That editing process along with the first line of the title story of the collection —“When Ipso gave birth to what most agreed was an elephant…,” which seemed to come from nowhere— is what I think led me to write and then submit the collection to the folks at Kresge Arts Foundation. I was fortunate enough to win a Kresge Literary Arts Fellowship in 2012. That award and the process of attaining it added a whole other facet to my writing. Much of my work, poetry and fiction is concerned with social justice. I grew up African American working class and have worked in media all my life. I began as a television camera operator and moved into media relations for nonprofits and now for social justice groups and causes.  

DJ: What is The Official Report on Human Activity about?


Kim: My usual reply to this question is an old joke: it’s about 220 pages and, because it’s short, it  will appeal to young men because it doesn’t take much of a commitment. But seriously, I deflect the question with jokes because the plots are nutty and, while humor is woven throughout, it belies much of the actual reading experience. But, to answer your question, the broad themes are how technology in general and media in particular affect us based on gender, race and class. The only realistic story of the four deals with mistaken perceptions of blackness and whiteness and how violence can flow from those mistakes. The three speculative stories feature animals acting strangely which adds to their speculative fiction aspect. All of the stories involve music, jazz and/or opera, and/or various kinds of blues. There’s always an author lurking somewhere in every story as well. I am concerned with the reader’s experience so I am concerned with reflecting on the creative process which adds a postmodern feel to the stories. Continue reading

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Author Interview & Giveaway: Tina LeCount Myers


Credit: Alec Joseph Bates

*Night Shade Books was kind enough to provided one (1) free copy of The Song of All to go along with the interview! The link and details for the giveaway are located at the bottom of the post, following the interview 🙂

Today I am interviewing Tina LeCount Myers, author of the new fantasy novel, The Song of All, first book in The Legacy of the Heavens trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Tina! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Tina LeCount Myers: Hi! Thanks for having me. I describe myself as a writer, surfer, and gluestick artist. I’m also a lapsed academician and a Siamese cat servant. I have an MA in European History from UC Santa Cruz and currently live in San Francisco. When I am not at my desk at The Castro Writers’ Cooperative, you can find me catching waves, practicing my backhand, and tearing up magazines for my collage art. The Song of All is my debut novel.

DJ: What is The Song of All about?


Tina: It is about two ancient warring tribes and a flawed man who is trying to save his son. It also includes parallel worlds accessed by song and poetry, psionics, sequential hermaphroditism, reindeer, and epic sword fights.

DJ: What were some of your influences The Song of All and the series? 

Tina: I grew up in a family that emphasized reading literary classics. Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina definitely had an impact on me and my writing. I loved the sweeping scope of their storytelling and the large cast of characters. But both works also have a tight focus on the nobility and pathos of an individual. The other significant influence on The Song of All were the fairytales my grandparents told me when I lived in Finland. They were stories about spirits in the north, about bears who turned into men, and sorceresses who lured lost hunters. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Sam York


Today I am interviewing Sam York, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Viridian Convict.

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DJ: Hi Sam! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

Sam: Hi DJ! I am excited to be here!

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

Sam York: Well, like most readers, I fell in love with books at a young age and read voraciously. Everything I could get my hands on. I especially enjoyed reading the encyclopedia and scientific books, which spurred my imagination! Scifi and fantasy were my go-tos (especially Piers Anthony and Douglas Adams!), but I loved reading everything.

As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before I tried my hand at writing. My first book (which remains unpublished!) was a story about a dyslexic dragon. I wrote it to try to explain what it was like to be dyslexic and to help other kids learn to cope with this challenge. My mother told me that this was not a learning disability, but an opportunity. And I believed her.

Though my teachers told her I would probably never learn to read, and certainly not to write, naturally we had to prove them wrong. I’ve always been a rebel like that.

I went on to write over 40 books under another pen name, many of them best sellers and award winners.

To all the haters? So there!

DJ: What is The Viridian Convict about?


Sam: The Viridian Convict is the first of three books about the Blue Dominion. In a universe where everything is run by the Fed, also called the Blues, everyone is under their thumb. The series arc follows the efforts of the rebellion to wrest back control of their lives.

This story takes place on a prison moon called Viridian–not so much a prison as a waste dump for everyone who stood up to the Fed. Our hero, Tig, is the ONLY human to survive intake. And he survived by a series of flukes. We find him eking out an existence as an enforcer for Granny, the mob boss who runs the settlement.

When Tig is given a mission by Granny, he has no intention of doing anything other than obeying, because Granny is God. He holds fast to this philosophy even when he’s given orders by his Blue nemesis, a Fed agent named Mia, to do the exact opposite. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Bradley P. Beaulieu


Today I am interviewing Bradley P. Beaulieu, author of the new epic fantasy novel, A Veil of Spears, the latest installment in the The Song of the Shattered Sands series.

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DJ: Hi Bradley! 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: Hello, and thanks for having me by for a chat!

I’m a software engineer by training, and until recently worked in that field full time since graduating from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. I got the itch to start writing somewhere along the way, though it wasn’t something I took seriously until I looked at a novel project that was about six years old and still unfinished. I figured it was time to either finish it or give up on writing.

Since then I’ve published over two dozen short stories and seven novels, with five more novels under contract. I largely write epic fantasy, but like to dabble in science fiction in short form. For five years I also ran Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers, and Fans, with Greg Wilson, a project I was and still am proud of but that I eventually had to step away from due to time constraints. But the old episodes are still live, and people should definitely check out the new ones as well.

DJ: What is The Song of the Shattered Sands series about?


Bradley: The series follows the exploits of Çeda, a young woman whose mother was mysteriously killed by the twelve kings who rule the desert city of Sharakhai with a collective, iron fist. What began as a quest for revenge turns into a journey of discovery for Çeda when she comes across one of the miserable asirim, creatures who steal into the city to take tributes each night of the twin full moons. Çeda is not killed as she feared, and uncovers a wondrous secret. Her mother left clues to her heritage and the history behind the kings’ power in a book of poems she left for Çeda when she died. As Çeda begins to unlock the secrets of the kings’ past, she discovers more about her mother, their people, and the dark bargain the kings made with the gods of the desert to secure their power.

The Song of the Shattered Sands is epic fantasy told largely through the lens of our hero, Çeda. In fact, when I began writing it, I wanted to tell it only through Çeda’s point of view. I ended up expanding the POV characters, but this is still first and foremost Çeda’s tale. It’s also a tale of how culture and customs can be lost, how the victors write the history books, and how those written out of it struggle to uncover the truth and right the wrongs committed along the way. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alex Bledsoe


Today I am interviewing Alex Bledsoe, author of the new fantasy novel, The Fairies of Sadieville, final book in the Tufa series.

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DJ: Hi Alex! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Alex Bledsoe: I’m originally from Tennessee, and eight of my thirteen novels are set there. I started writing as a journalist, and published over fifty short stories in various small press magazines and journals before my first novel, The Sword-Edged Blonde, came out in 2007. I’m married with three kids, and now live in a Wisconsin village famous for having wooden troll statues scattered around town.

DJ: What is The Fairies of Sadieville and then the Tufa series about?


Alex: The series is about a race of exiled faery folk who live in Appalachia. For the most part they’re indistinguishable from human beings and only show their magic in their music.

The Fairies of Sadieville begins with the discovery of a silent film from 1915 that shows a Tufa girl dropping her glamour and revealing her true faery nature. Through this, the vanished coal town of Sadieville is rediscovered, and with it a possible way for the Tufa to return to their homes in Faeryland…if the queen who exiled them will allow it.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Tufa series?

Alex: A whole bunch of disparate and random things mentally clicked together to create the Tufa. Growing up in Tennessee, I heard many stories about the people of the mountains, including groups steeped in mystery and danger. Then, in the late 90s, I attended my first National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, which is the ancestral home of my dad’s family in Appalachia. The idea of writing about that area really grabbed hold of me then, but it took a long time to sort out exactly what I wanted to do with it. Immersing myself in the music of the region, both classic and current, really helped, and music became one of the foundations of the Tufa. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee


Today I am interviewing Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee, the writing duo behind the new fantasy novel, Wrath of the Fury Blade, the first book of The Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventure series.

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DJ: Hi Geoff & Coy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Geoff Habiger & Coy Kissee: Sure. And first we’d like to thank you for offering to interview us. We’ve been “authors” for several years, with books published for role-playing games, and Geoff has a best-selling coloring and activity book about dinosaurs (Dinosaur Learning Activity Book). Wrath of the Fury Blade (and our supernatural historical fiction novel Unremarkable) are our first actual works of fiction that we have had published.

We’ve been avid (rabid?) readers since we can remember. Geoff tried to write fiction back in high school and college, but never got beyond a first draft stage back then. (Some of those drafts are still floating around somewhere on an old 5.25” floppy disk – lost forever do to the obsolescence of computers.) We both grew up in Manhattan….Kansas – not New York. (That’s the Little Apple, not the Big Apple for folks playing along at home.) That’s where we met, as we attended high school together. Geoff currently calls New Mexico home with his wife, son, and two cats. Coy resides in Lenexa, Kansas with his wife and one cat.

DJ: What is Wrath of the Fury Blade and The Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventure series about?


Geoff & Coy: The Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventures will be a series of books that focuses on Constable Inspector Reva Lunaria and her job as a Constable in the elven city of Tenyl. Basically, Reva is a cop in a city in a fantasy world that we have created. (In fact, the city and Kingdom of Tenyl originally started out as part of the campaign setting we created for Dungeons & Dragons.) The different “adventures” that Reva will experience all revolve around crimes committed in the city (generally the major ones, like murder, kidnapping, etc. – though the occasional clash with over-zealous adventurers also takes place). Wrath of the Fury Blade is the first adventure in which we introduce Reva, her new partner, Seeker Ansee Carya, and several other characters as they attempt to track down a serial killer stalking the elite members of the city. Of course, this is harder than it seems since Reva doesn’t like her new partner, gets “assistance” from the King’s Secret Police (the Sucra) who have their own agenda beyond just finding the killer, and must deal with some of her own personal demons. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Steve Rogers


Today I am interviewing Steve Rogers, author of the new epic fantasy novel, City of Shards, first book in the Spellgiver series.

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DJ: Hi Steve! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Steve: Thanks for the opportunity!

I have been writing most of my adult life in various capacities, but “City of Shards” and “In the Claws of the Indigen” (books 1 and 2 of Spellgiver) are my debut novels. They have been seen by an army of beta readers, as I always wanted to make them shine before I released them into the wild. I stopped work on the novels for some time in order to write short stories, and many of those have been published in on-line magazines and anthologies (my last submitted short story “Canvas Tears” will be published in May in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly).

Last year, after permanently leaving the short story world, hiring another round of beta readers and a professional cover artist/editor, I finished both books—“City of Shards” and “In the Claws of the Indigen”. The first is on pre-order at Amazon, and the second will be available for pre-order in early April.

DJ: What is City of Shards about?


Steve: At the center of the story is Larin, a boy from a violent neighborhood who suffers horrible outbursts that cause him to shout meaningless words at random. These uncontrollable spasms have turned him into a pariah in the gang-ridden Wormpile district, where his only protection comes from his drug-addicted uncle, a man with a mysterious past who’s better with a sword than most people are with a fork.

Larin eventually learns that his outbursts have marked him as servant to an ancient evil, one that is in permanent war with the Six-Legged Gods. So, when clergy of the Six-Legged Gods erect their temple in a neighboring district, things go from bad to worse. Those priests busy themselves with good deeds and cry for social justice, gaining the people’s trust while rousing them against the throne. But Larin suspects that those fiery speeches mask a hidden agenda, and he soon finds one dismaying fact: As bad as Larin’s Master is, Larin will either follow that monstrosity or watch the city slide into an even darker abyss. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jay Chalk


Today I am interviewing Jay Chalk, author of the new science-fiction novel, Revolution 2050.

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DJ: Hi Jay! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Jay Chalk: Hi DJ! And thanks for your interest! A little about myself…I was a long-haul trucker back in the 1980s and part of the ‘90s. I received a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English from UT@Tyler in 1993 and never looked back. It was in the 1990s, during a tumultuous time in my life, that I began writing. I’m now in my 20th year of teaching high school social studies–and also with four and half novels under my belt.

DJ: What is Revolution 2050 about?

Jay: After another American civil war, a totalitarian regime called the Directorate controls the region east of the Mississippi River. The protagonist, Sam Moore, is a young school teacher and member of the Directorate Party. The story is how he transforms from a subdued school teacher to a revolutionary/guerilla fighter against the very regime he once loved.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Revolution 2050?


Jay: I’ve always been a student of history. I’m fascinated how a whole population can be mesmerized to the point of blindness and follow a self-proclaimed “leader” off the deep end. The memoirs of Russian author and Cold War dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn heavily influenced the themes of my novels. Playwright, dissident and former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel also impacted the thought behind my stories. Havel was a thorn in the side of the Soviet Union. His non-fiction book, Open Letters, gave me a ton of behind-the-scenes ammo when it comes to how an authoritarian regime really works behind closed doors. Add in a smidgen of Bradbury, Huxley and a touch of Orwell and there you have it.

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 would sympathize with them? 

Jay: I think the most interesting thing about my characters, and several reviewers have agreed, is that my characters are common, everyday people that you can identify with. No super-hero/magical stuff here. Sam, fellow revolutionary and love interest, Katie Spencer, and her grandparents, Leo and Michelle, are the kind of people who might live next door, down the street, or perhaps co-workers you know and hangout with after work. What makes them compelling is how they interact with their surroundings–and within themselves–when faced with life-altering decisions. Those decisions not only could cost them their lives, but also could affect future generations of Americans. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ryan Wieser


Today I am interviewing Ryan Wieser, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Glass Blade, first book in the Hunters of Infinity series.

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DJ: Hi Ryan! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Ryan Wieser: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me! I am an author who currently writes in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I was raised predominantly in East Africa and I have studied and travelled all around the world. When I’m not writing, I love to read and travel with my husband, our baby, and our dog!

DJ: What is The Glass Blade about?


Ryan: The Glass Blade is about a young woman, Jessop, who saves two unsuspecting Hunters from a vicious attack in a tavern. This act leads to her being offered a place within the Hunters’ training facility, the Glass Blade. As she builds new relationships, her past, and many secrets, slowly begin to surface. Ultimately, this is a story about love, loss, and retribution.

DJ: What were some of your influences The Glass Blade and the series?

Ryan: It has always been important to me to write about powerful, strong women, who don’t need saving but who save themselves. I come from a family of strong women. While I have always identified as feminist and I have always known the importance of equality, recognition, and tolerance, it was really several years ago, when I first started writing The Glass Blade, that I took real notice of the disgusting extent to which the “Disposable Woman” was featuring in so many storylines—the woman who was written into the plot with the sole purpose of sexualisation and victimization to spur on the male lead’s agenda. Whether it’s on the page or the silver screen, it is an abhorrent representation of the female sex and the female narrative. I believe all writers, but in particular female writers, owe it to our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters, wives, girlfriends, and friends to remove this “Disposable Woman” from our media and from our culturally accepted narrative. In developing Jessop, and many of my other characters, I was heavily influenced by the people in my life. Continue reading

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