Monthly Archives: August 2018

Author Interview: Nicky Drayden

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Today I am interviewing Nicky Drayden, author of the new science-fiction and fantasy novel, Temper.

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

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

Nicky Drayden: Hi! Thanks for having me! I’m Nicky Drayden, author of The Prey of Gods, TEMPER, and a whole assortment of weird short stories. I like bending genres and pushing boundaries and squeezing my brain into uncomfortable places. I got my start by participating in National Novel Writing Month twelve years ago, and have been consumed by the need to tell stories ever since.

DJ: What is Temper about?

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Nicky: At its heart, Temper is about a set of twins and how their relationship evolves as it’s tested by society, family secrets, and a demonic possession. It’s a pseudo-alternate history, set in a fantastical Cape Town where nearly everyone is born a twin, and the vices and virtues assigned to them during a religious ceremony determine their worth in the world. Auben, the main character, is assigned more vices than his twin, Kasim, and as a result, Auben is nearly guaranteed a life of poverty and strife. To make matters worse, Auben also starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side, and he must figure out a way to get rid of them before blood is spilled.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Temper?

Nicky: I wanted to tell a story of an African continent that escaped the ills of colonization, but the story that came out of me wasn’t what I had imagined. This world is full of oppression and injustice, of dark secrets and hidden hopes. I wanted to bring a completely immersive story to the reader, like Jemisin’s Broken Earth or Butler’s Dawn, something that throws the reader in the deep end and then teaches them to swim. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Helen Scheuerer

Helen-Scheuerer-Talem-PressToday I am interviewing Helen Scheuerer, author of the new YA fantasy novel, Reign of Mist, second book in The Oremere Chronicles.

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

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

Helen Scheuerer: Hi DJ, thank YOU for the opportunity! And of course 🙂 I’m a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Last year I released my debut novel, Heart of Mist, the first book in The Oremere Chronicles. I’ve recently gone full-time as an author, and I also run an established writing advice website for emerging writers called Writer’s Edit.

DJ: What is Reign of Mist and then The Oremere Chronicles about?

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Helen: Reign of Mist is the second book in a planned trilogy called The Oremere Chronicles. RoM follows the unlikely heroine of the series, Bleak, as she starts to face her dark past and take responsibility for herself and her actions. The series itself is a classic high fantasy journey of a group of outsiders who all have their own secrets, but who band together to battle a common enemy 😉

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Oremere Chronicles?

Helen: I love series like Throne of Glass, An Ember in the Ashes and A Darker Shade of Magic, and I suppose it was reading books like these that inspired me to veer away from the literary fiction I was writing and try my hand at YA fantasy. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tom Leins

Tom Leins 2017Today I am interviewing Tom Leins, author of the new short fiction collection, Meat Bubbles & Other Stories.

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

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

Tom Leins: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me! I’m a writer based in Paignton, UK, probably best known for my short stories, which have been widely printed in anthologies, and published online by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun Honey, the Flash Fiction Offensive, Spelk, Horror Sleaze Trash and Near To The Knuckle. My first short story collection, Meat Bubbles & Other Stories, was released by Near to the Knuckle earlier this summer.

DJ: What is Meat Bubbles & Other Stories about?

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Tom: Subtitled ‘The Paignton Noir Case Files’, the book follows the exploits of Joe Rey, a cut-price private investigator who finds himself on the trail of a deranged plastic surgeon with a queasy line in body modification procedures. Over the course of a long, bloody summer, Rey tangles with rogue ex-cops, suburban hitmen, neo-Nazi scumbags and even Paignton’s richest man – a notorious hoarder of unknown horrors.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Meat Bubbles & Other Stories?

Tom: In no particular order: B-movies; pub crawls; US crime fiction from the 1980s and 1990s; Englishness; Psychogeography; abandoned spaces and places; and, of course, my home town, Paignton!
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Author Interview: David Thomas Moore

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Today I am interviewing David Thomas Moore, editor of the new fantasy anthology, The True History of Strange Brigade.

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DJ: Hey David! Thanks for stopping by to do an interview!

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

David: Hi there! I’m David Thomas Moore, the Fiction Commissioning Editor at Rebellion Publishing (that’s Solaris and Abaddon Books, for those at the back). I’ve also edited a handful of anthologies, including Not So Stories, Dracula: Rise of the Beast and The True History of the Strange Brigade. If we’ve ever met, there’s a good chance I was doing karaoke at the time.

DJ: What is The True History of Strange Brigade about?

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David: It’s a companion volume for the Strange Brigade videogame, coming out on the 28th August on all major platforms. It tells the backstories of the four main playable characters and four of the initial downloadable characters – who they are, and what unearthly encounter first brought them to the attention of the Department of Antiquities, the so-called “Strange Brigade” that protects the world from the supernatural.

The stories are set in our world, sometime in the 1930s – the time of Indiana Jones, of The Shadow, of Doc Savage – and terrible things lurk in the shadows of the world: monsters, old gods, ghosts, alien intelligences and worse. The Department of Antiquities, an unofficial and unacknowledged branch of His Majesty’s Government, holds the duty of rooting these creatures out and making the world safe. The Brigade itself, formed of agents from around the world – from India and Japan, from Kenya and America, from everywhere the Empire has a presence – are the sharp edge of the Department, travelling where needed and doing what must be done. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Steve Levi

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Today I am interviewing Steve Levi, author of the crime novel, The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound.

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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 Levi: I like to think I’m an odd duck. As a writer, I can’t be put into any of the usual writing categories.  My motto is “If you do not have something unique you have nothing.” I want every one of my books, fiction and nonfiction, to be unique, something no one has done before. As an example, in nonfiction I concentrate on the Alaska Gold Rush. I am an Alaskan, by the way. The Alaska Gold Rush is the least-studied era in American history. Most people believe that the Klondike Gold Rush made famous by Jack London and Robert Service, is the Alaska Gold Rush.  It is not. The Klondike Gold Rush was in the Yukon Territory of Canada and lasted about 14 months. The Alaska Gold Rush started in 1880 and ends with the First World War and covered an area about 1/5 of the lower states. My composite history of the Alaska Gold Rush included events, stampedes and people no one else had heard of. My book on Alaska’s ghost ship, the CLARA NEVADA, was another first. The CLARA NEVADA went down in 1898 and came back up in 1908 – missing 100,000 ounces of gold.  Supposedly there were no survivors BUT a handful of months later, the captain of the ship has a brand-new steamboat on the Yukon River. Humm, how interesting.

When it comes to fiction, I, again, look for something that is unique. That’s why I created my own genre, the ‘impossible crime.’  An impossible crime is one where the detective has to solve HOW the crime was committed before it is possible to go after the perpetrators.  My impossible crime novels – available at www.authormasterminds.com – include a plane which lands at Anchorage International Airport with no pilot, crew or passengers yet LEFT Seattle with a pilot, crew and passengers and did not land anywhere along the way. That book is THE MATTER OF THE DESERTED AIRLINER and in THE MATTER OF THE DEMATERIALIZING ARMORED CAR, the perpetrators make an empty armored car ‘demineralize’ in a tunnel.  An empty armored car? Why? If the perpetrators are going to steal something of value, what is the value of an empty armored car?

In my murder mystery, DEAD MEN DO COME BACK, the corpse makes three different appearances. It’s an Alaska Gold Rush mystery and the United States Marshal has to figure out WHY the corpse keeps making the appearances and how it is connected with two robberies of 250 pounds of gold from the Juneau mine.  And HOW do you have 250 pounds of gold vanish off a steamship if it was loaded under guard and never offloaded?

Overall, in everything I write, novel or short story, I want my readers confused as long as possible, hopefully to the last page. I hate books and movies where I have figured out ‘who dun it’ within the first chapter.

DJ: What is The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound about?

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Steve: Again, as much as possible, I want my readers to be confused until the last page. In THE MATTER OF THE VANISHING GREYHOUND, as an example, the police in San Francisco are following a Greyhound bush loaded with four bank robbers, a dozen hostages and $10 million in cash.  The bus rolls onto the Golden Gate Bridge and the police close the bridge at both ends. When the police send in their hostage negotiator, there is no bus. It has vanished off the Golden Gate Bridge. (And let me tell you, I had a hard time convincing publishers this was NOT science fiction.) Now the detective has to figure out HOW a Greyhound bus, being followed by the police, can vanish off the Golden Gate Bridge and if the perpetrators already have the money, why do they need hostages? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alex Thomson

36373679Today I am interviewing Alex Thomson, author of the new sci-fi novel, Death of a Clone

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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 Thomson: I’m a French and Spanish teacher at a secondary school in Luton, and this is my first novel. I came to sci-fi/fantasy relatively late – someone lent me a copy of Foundation when I was in my late twenties – and have spent the last decade making up for lost time and reading as many different authors and sub-genres as I can. I love how sci-fi gives authors so much scope to explore ideas about what it is to be human.

DJ: What is Death of a Clone about?

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Alex: Death of a Clone is a sci-fi/crime mash-up – a murder mystery set on a mining asteroid called Hell, populated by a small community of clones. The main character, Leila, is a Miss Marple buff, and when her clone sister is killed, she tries to investigate the murder herself, using Miss Marple’s methods. However, it turns out there are plenty of secrets on Hell, and someone is prepared to kill to make sure those secrets stay hidden.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Death of a Clone?

Alex: It was influenced by a lot of classic “soft sci-fi”, for example the short stories of Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick. More recently, by Adam Roberts, who is one of my favourite contemporary sci-fi authors, and always manages to make extraordinary ideas seem completely natural. And in particular, I first started writing Death of a Clone after reading Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things; I had always been a bit too intimidated to attempt to write sci-fi myself, but Faber (who doesn’t normally write sci-fi) reminded me that all you need is a good story and characters you care about – the rest will follow. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Drew Williams

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Today I am interviewing Drew Williams, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Stars Now Unclaimed, the first book in The Universe After series.

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

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

Drew Williams: No problem – happy to have been asked! For starters, I’ve been a bookseller in Birmingham, Alabama for most of my adult life (longer than that, actually, depending on when you count ‘adulthood’ as setting in; I was first hired at sixteen, when I walked in off the street looking for work and the owner needed someone to fill a shift that night). That means books – reading books, recommending books, arguing about books (Moby Dick is the most overrated classic in the canon; it just is) – have been pretty much my whole life, so moving on to actually writing books only seemed natural! (Plus, I’ve been writing for my own entertainment since I was a teenager, so I managed to get through the ‘really, really dreadful stuff, just unreadable’ pretty early on.)

DJ: What is The Stars Now Unclaimed about?

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Drew: The Stars Now Unclaimed is space-opera science fiction, set in a universe that has been ravaged by an event called ‘the pulse’: basically, a strange radiation that spreads from world to world, causing local technology to collapse. In other words, on one planet, you could have perfectly functional spaceports, medical facilities, all that fun sci-fi tech, and on the same moon of that very same world, you might be stuck with pre-Industrial Revolution era technology.

So: that’s the setting. As far as the actual narrative concerns, it follows Jane Kamali, an operative of the ‘Justified’ (a kind of intergalactic peace-keeping force) tasked with rescuing ‘gifted’ children – children granted supernatural abilities by the pulse radiation – from the war-torn worlds they were born in. As the book begins, Jane’s current mission is going just swimmingly – she only nearly dies a few times – as she rescues a young telekinetic girl named Esa from her backwater home, only to find that she’s not the only one interested in Esa’s gifts: a would-be empire of intergalactic conquerors called ‘the Pax’ are also on their trail, and from there it’s a race across the pulse-stricken universe to get Esa to safety. Continue reading

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Book Review: Depths of Night: A Ragnar Stormbringer Tale by Stephen Zimmer

Depths of Night: A Ragnar Stormbringer Tale by Stephen Zimmer

Publisher: Seventh Star Press

Publication Date: April 4, 2018

Edition: ebook, 82 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Novella

Rating: 3.5/5


A mixture between Kratos and The Odyssey

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephen Zimmer

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Today I am interviewing Stephen Zimmer, author of the new YA dystopian, modern fantasy novel, Dream of the Navigator, first book in the Faraway Saga.

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

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

Stephen Zimmer:  Hi DJ! It is wonderful to be back on your site, and for those who may not know me just yet, I am an author and filmmaker currently living in the heart of the Bluegrass State of Kentucky.  I write speculative fiction and love exploring new horizons. My work includes fantasy, epic fantasy, steampunk, horror, cross-genre fiction, and now YA/Dystopian fiction. I love hearing from readers, so if you are enjoying any of my books, please do drop me a message with any comments or questions!

DJ: What is Dream of the Navigator about?

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Stephen:  Dream of the Navigator follows the story of two teenage boys and two teenage girls who are growing up in a near-future setting in which society is run by technocrats, and cities have been replaced by massive urban centers called technates.  

Technology controls everything in a person’s life at this point and the only real escapes appear to be through virtual reality, other forms of entertainment, or substances.  The four main characters make big discoveries about the true nature of dreams and consciousness, and come to realize that they are not as confined as they originally thought.   Whole new worlds are opened up to them.

The storyline follows their response and what they do with this powerful new knowledge in the quest to gain freedom from the stifling world that they have been born into.

DJ: What were some of your influences Dream of the Navigator and the series?

Stephen:  Both dystopian and fantastical literature have had an influence on me when it comes to this series, but I have to say that 1984, by George Orwell, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis are the most profound.

This series involves a mixture of dystopian and utopian elements within the methods of control used by the ruling class over the broader society.  Some aspects are pleasant to experience, such as the virtual reality realms that so many citizens spend their days within, while others are suffocating, such as the constant monitoring, warning, and penalizing in response to an individual’s behavior and its adherence to the rules set in place. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jon Hollins

Author_Photo_TwitterToday I am interviewing Jon Hollins, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Bad Faith, final book in The Dragon Lords trilogy.

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

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

Jon Hollins: Hi! Thanks so much for having me here.  As for who I am… well, probably the first thing to reveal is that the name Jon Hollins is a lie.  Or as some people would call it, a pseudonym. My real name is Jonathan Wood, and I’m an Englishman living in New York.  I work in advertising by day, and write by… well, “night” would be the cool way to finish that sentence, but mostly it’s on my commute each day.  Prior to writing The Dragon Lords, I wrote four urban fantasy novels under my own name.  The first of that series is No Hero.

DJ: What is Bad Faith and then The Dragon Lords trilogy about?

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Jon: Bad Faith is the story of a group friends (of questionable morality and intelligence) most of whom have found themselves dead at the hands of a despotic and chronically drunk deity.  It charts their journey all the way from the underworld to the heavens themselves as they struggle to get revenge, and to free their homeland from tyranny. There are hijinks and mishaps along the way—as there tend to be in these sorts of things—including their decision to team up with a small army of dragons, which simplifies attacking a god, but complicates pretty much everything else.

This being the third and concluding volume of The Dragon Lords, these events obviously building on a lot of things that have happened before.  The first book, Fool’s Gold, charts the way the friends come together, initially as little more than a group of wannabe thieves, and then as accidental leaders of a revolution against evil dragon overlords.  Then in False Idols, the same bunch of fools find themselves in an expanded fight for their whole world as the dragons come back in a bid to rule not just the land, but the very heavens.  That’s when the gods start to get involved, and things go rapidly downhill for everyone from there. Continue reading

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