Author Archives: DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

Author Interview: Stephen Zimmer

Today I am interviewing Stephen Zimmer, author of the new epic fantasy novel, When Shadows Fall, final book in the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Stephen! Thanks for coming back to do another interview! 

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

Stephen:  Thank you for interviewing me!  It is wonderful to be back at MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape!  

For those who I haven’t met yet, I am a writer from Lexington, Kentucky who loves to explore all kinds of worlds and characters.  My published writing included genres such as epic fantasy, YA dystopian, sword and sorcery, horror, steampunk, and cross-genre fiction.  I currently have 16 titles in print, and 24 in eBook format.

  I have a great passion for storytelling, and my path has also seen me become an editor, filmmaker, and broadcaster, and I love doing what I can to be supportive of both my readers and fellow members of the writing community.  

DJ: What is When Shadows Fall and then the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy about?

Stephen: This is ultimately a Rayden Valkyrie adventure with a large story arc that comprises three books.  When Shadows Fall is the final installment and it is truly a grand finale to this tale.  

The story covers Rayden’s journey from a land far, far to the south of her world to the tribal lands across an ocean and to the north where she grew up after losing both of her parents in a violent manner as a child (I have not yet given full detail about this traumatic incident in Rayden’s life.)

The journey home takes a different course when she intervenes to save a young boy from being used as a sacrifice to a dark god.  From there she is brought into conflict with a rising empire that is trying to suppress a slave rebellion. The story deepens and takes many twists and turns as Rayden discovers the things that are driving the Teveren Empire relentlessly toward power and conquest.  

It is a harrowing adventure set in an ancient and dangerous world that pits Rayden against monstrous wilderness threats, dark supernatural entities, armies on the march, and a whole lot more. She has to put her life on the line several times to do what needs to be done to have a chance of thwarting the Teveren Imperator’s ambitions

When Shadows Fall brings everything together for a final showdown with the Imperator ruling the Teveren Empire.  The third book has a grand scale to it, but Rayden has to fill many roles in this conclusion to survive and try to overcome a wide range of adversaries.  

Readers will get to see it all through Rayden’’s eyes and experience her courage, compassion, kindness, strength, ferocity, and much more!   Continue reading

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Author Interview: John F. Allen

Today I am interviewing John F. Allen, author of the new urban fantasy, science-fiction, horror short story collection, The Best is Yet to Come.

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

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

John F. Allen: Thanks for having me here DJ! I’m an American author who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a life-long resident. My writing primarily focuses on genre fiction such as: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery. Besides being an author, I’m also a visual artist, comic book historian, podcaster/YouTube personality and jazz/blues/r&b/old school pop music aficionado.

DJ: What is The Best is Yet to Come about?

John: The Best is Yet to Come is a short story collection of work accumulated over the past 9 years of my writing career. It features stories from a variety of genres to showcase my versatility as a writer. A few of the stories were republished from earlier anthologies and others are newly published in this volume. All of the stories occur in the Ivoryverse, my literary universe named for the protagonist in my Ivory Blaque series, who also happens to the central figure of my literary universe, hence the name.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Best is Yet to Come

John: Well, with this collection there were as large of a variety of influences as there were stories. Generally speaking, I draw influence from my life experiences first and foremost. That, coupled with the people with whom I meet, interact with and those who are permanent fixtures in my life, help to flesh out the characters I create. From a literary standpoint, several of my heroes include: Walter Mosley, Chester Himes, Robert B. Parker, Don Pendleton, Marv Wolfman, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, Laurel K. Hamilton, L.A. Banks, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Samuel Delany, Octivia Butler and Charles Saunders. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Wendy S. Delmater

Today I am interviewing Wendy S. Delmater, Editor of the new science-fiction and fantasy anthology, The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume 3.

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DJ: Hi Wendy! Thanks for agreeing to do an interview! 

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

Wendy S. Delmater: Well, I’ve been editor Abyss & Apex  since 2006. I love editing–I edit novels and short stories professionally–and recently debuted a book called Writing the Entertaining Story to help new writers. Besides editing the three Best of Abyss & Apex anthologies I’m also the author of Confessions of a Female Safety Engineer,which is all about my days as a heavy construction safety manager in NYC, plus I’ve published a lot of genre short stories and poetry. But mostly, I love to edit!

DJ: What is The Best of Abyss & Apex Volume 3 about?

WSD: Abyss & Apex Magazine publishes “everything SF & F can be.” These stories, and a few framing poems, were the cream of the crop from the last few years. Reader favorites. I strove to give Best of A&A 3 the same balance as the magazine: 50 percent science fiction and 50 percent fantasy. I gave it a balance of humor and seriousness, light and dark. But mostly, the stories have heart

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind the stories selected in The Best of Abyss & Apex Volume 3

WSD: My staff and I just pick ‘em out of the slush pile. The inspiration comes from our wonderful authors. By the way, a quarter of our authors sell their first stories anywhere to Abyss & Apex. We’re very new-writer friendly. 

When I say some of the stories were popular, understand we keep track of which get more clicks or go viral. BY that metric “Roadmaster,” for example, was our readers’ fave of 2018. But of course, I put in some of my favorites: A piece of Islamic science fiction that did not fit into Best of A&A 2 comes to mind: “Mind Diver” by Vylar Kaftan.  Continue reading

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Book Review: The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

Publisher: Tor.com Publishing

Publication Date: November 12, 2019

Edition: Paperback, 155 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Novella

Rating: 3.5/5


Made me want to go read the full Luna series

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tommy B. Smith

Today I am interviewing Tommy B. Smith, author of the new suspense and coming-of-age novel, Anybody Want to Play WAR?. 

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

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

Tommy B. Smith: I’m the author of a few books, primarily horror and dark fiction, and numerous short stories over the years. I’ve done some editorial work along the way. My novel of 2018, The Mourner’s Cradle, won the Imadjinn Award for Best Horror Novel. The documentary Road Between Worlds: A Horror Author’s Chronicle made its debut recently, a feature which followed my book tour of 2018 and the intersecting journeys of a myriad of authors, artists, and creative institutions. My latest book is Anybody Want to Play WAR? 

DJ: What is Anybody Want to Play WAR about?

Tommy: It’s the story of a teenage boy scarred by a savage dog’s attack. His efforts to come to terms with this place him at severe odds with his family, and he flees his home to the streets of St. Charles. Here he meets the world outside the relative safety of his home and school, and will discover it is much larger than he might have expected. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for Anybody Want to Play WAR

Tommy: From many years ago I remember children on the playgrounds building forts and throwing rocks at each other in some semblance of war games. This served as a seed for the story’s inception and title. 

The book drew much of its influence from our world and the many kinds of people who struggle to coexist in it, including juvenile delinquents.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: S.D. Reeves

Today I am interviewing S.D. Reeves, author of the new fantasy novel, The Melody of Three, first book in the Evercharm trilogy

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DJ: Hi S.D.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

S.D.: Hey DJ, thank you for the invitation!

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

S.D.: I am Southern born author from the great state of Alabama, living in Switzerland. So, this means I’ve traded in my “Morning Y’all,” for “Gruezi.” I write primarily fantasy, but I do occasionally dip into horror when it’s time to do my taxes. Outside of writing I enjoy playing the Cello, carving model ships, and pretending that the cracks in the sidewalk are lava. 

DJ: What is The Melody of Three about?

S.D.: It’s 1815. Napoleon has just returned from exile, fairy-bloods are being murdered in Britain, Elves have escaped from their ancient prison, and mysterious agents have overrun the Forum Magicae in Liverpool. Artisan (Sorceror) and Dutchman Christaan De Rein must find a way to end this challenge to the magical order and discover the secret behind the string of murders.

And in another world entirely, a young girl named Niena tries to survive. She holds the key to saving both of their worlds. Or destroying them. 

DJ: What were some of your influences The Melody of Three and the series? 

S.D.: It’s hard to pin down specific ones. Growing up I was like many people, enamored with the Lord of the Rings. I continued with a lot of the conventional authors after (Terry Pratchet, Rowling), though I was also a big fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. I would say they all had a hand in my writing style. Outside of this the biggest influence would have to be my wife, specifically her professional enthusiasm in the French Empire period, and living history. She spends a lot of time in museums studying original garments, and putting things together for events – what I’ve tagged along in. As you may have guessed from the description of the story, this heavily influenced the theme and setting.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jesse Jordan

Today I am interviewing Jesse Jordan, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Graverobber’s Sword. 

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

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

Jesse Jordan: I’m just this guy, you know? Just an average book-loving Canadian dude.

DJ: What is The Graverobber’s Sword about?

Jesse: Oh man. If I had to narrow it down to a simple answer, I would say it’s about overcoming obstacles, especially when the obstacle in question just happens to be yourself. Who hasn’t gotten in their own way?

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Graverobber’s Sword

Jesse: If I had to narrow it down to just a handful, I would have to a little bit of every RPG game I’ve played and a dash of all fiction books I’ve ever read. I realize that’s a BIG, BROAD ANSWER and isn’t at all specific (or helpful for someone reading this) but it’s true. 

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? 

Jesse: The main cast is a little big, so bear with me here!
Kera No-Clan: a barbarian living in exile. She has almost zero scruples, and does whatever she thinks is best for herself at any point in time.

Will Decker: an illusionist who has a bit of a problem with alcohol and a bigger problem keeping what’s real and what’s not separated.

Smith: is an artificer with an anger problem and a lot of baggage, but so long as his daughter is safe, that’s all that matters.

Enaurl: is Smith’s mechanical construct companion, a punch-happy robot in the shape of a beautiful woman.

Voldani Solreki: is a god-blooded scion, a descendant of the god Perrus who has been tasked by the church to keep Kera in line. 

Brenno Hornbuckle: is a retired adventurer turned pawnbroker who finds himself embroiled in the whole ordeal of the book against his will.

Zephelous: an ancient talking sword. It sees the potential in others, and believes that Kera could be a great hero… if only it could convince her to not be such a shitty person for a day or two. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rachel Atwood

Today I am interviewing Rachel Atwood, author of the new fantasy novel, Walk the Wild with Me.

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

Rachel Atwood: I fell in love with history as a small child. At first it was the costumes and horses; knights in shining armor, enchanted me. Then I saw the old Disney cartoon “The Sword in the Stone,” and I became enchanted with the whole Arthurian adventure. Somewhere in there I was introduced to the highly romanticized adventures of Robin Hood and his Merry Men with Richard Greene on TV. I’ve written straight historical works, (Magna Bloody Carta: A Turning Point in Democracy, under my legal name Phyllis Irene Radford) but I much prefer writing history with enchantments. Currently I live in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Oregon with protected wetland forest ten feet outside my office window. It is not hard for me to imagine myself on the edge of Sherwood Forest looking in on the adventures I write.

When I’m not writing I enjoy line dancing. Having grown up in a ballet studio, I cannot, not dance, so if we are at the same SF/F convention you might find me dancing in a local fountain. In another lifetime I was a seamstress and a lacemaker. Who knows what hobby I’ll fall into next. It’s all fodder for the fiction mill.

DJ: What is Walk the Wild with Me about?

Rachel: 1208-1215 A.D. the Church in Rome divorced King John of England, and King John divorced the Church. There was no one tell people that the fae Wild Folk of the forest did not exist, so they are free to come out and play. Our hero, Nicholas is an orphan who knows no other life than in an abbey. He frequently gets into trouble because when helping illuminate manuscripts he can’t help adding weird faces into the flowing illustrations. Then, with the help of a pagan goddess enshrined in an ancient cup, he stumbles into the woods one day and discovers another whole aspect of life. He makes friends with the wild folk and has adventures while exploring.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Walk the Wild with Me?

Rachel: I’ve studied British Folklore forever. The Green Man, dryads, sylphs, water sprites, and even trolls feel like my neighbors. I’ve also sung some Gregorian Chants in church choirs. Why shouldn’t I combine the two? Continue reading

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Author Interview: David Steffen

Today I am interviewing David Steffen, editor of the new science-fiction anthology, The Long List Anthology: Volume 5, fifth book in the Long List Anthology series, who is also editor the webzine Diabolical Plots, and co-founder and administrator of the Submission Grinder website for writers. 

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

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

David:  I’m an erstwhile writer and current editor and publisher, and a software engineer by day.  I’m probably most well-known in writing circles for co-founding and administering a tool for writers called The Submission Grinder.  I run the Diabolical Plots, LLC publishing house, although its Twitter feed is probably cross-stitch photos by volume.

DJ: What is The Long List Anthology: Volume 5 about?

David:  The Hugo Awards are a fan voted award, nominated and voted by whoever pays a supporting membership to WorldCon that year (you don’t need to physically attend).  There’s often great stuff on the final Hugo Award ballot that gets a lot of attention, and deservedly. After the Hugo Award ceremony, the WSFS (the organization that runs the Hugo Awards) publishes a longer list of nomination statistics, including a ranked list of works that weren’t on the ballot.  I had used this list for years as a recommended reading list, but those stories didn’t get anywhere near the attention of the works on the ballot, so I wanted to help get them some wider exposure. This anthology each year is entirely composed of stories that were on the longer nomination list that year in the Short Story, Novelette, and Novella categories.

DJ: What kinds of stories can readers expect in the anthology?

David:  They’re all science fiction/fantasy/horror of some kind, but it’s a very ecclectic mix, because it’s whatever an amorphous fan group of varying size and composition decided they liked in a particular year.  Usually there’s not a huge amount of horror, but usually one or two solidly in that category. There can be some trends in a particular year (i.e. this year there are quite a few science fiction mystery stories) but as a whole I think this anthology is probably one of the most varied in type of story out there because it’s not a single person picking the stories. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kristyn Merbeth

Today I am interviewing Kristyn Merbeth, author of the new science-fiction novel, Fortuna, first book in the The Nova Vita Protocol series.

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

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

Kristyn Merbeth: Hi! Thanks so much for having me (again!). I’m the author of the post-apocalyptic Wastelanders series as K.S. Merbeth, and Fortuna is my first step into the space opera genre. I love video games, Dungeons and Dragons, cooking, and my bulldog, Albus. Since the last time you interviewed me here, I moved from northern California back to my hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

DJ: What is Fortuna about?

Kristyn: Fortuna is about the Kaisers, a family who smuggles contraband between five human-settled planets. After the family matriarch takes a risky job, the smugglers are drawn into the system’s first interplanetary war. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Scorpia, the pilot and family screw-up, and Corvus, who was the favorite child and intended heir before he left the family three years ago.

DJ: What were some of your influences on Fortuna and the series? 

Kristyn: The story began as a mash-up of the real-life discovery of Trappist-1 and the idea of a family of criminals from the show Animal Kingdom. Beyond that, it’s always hard for me to draw direct lines of influence, since I feel like I’m always subconsciously absorbing inspiration from all of the stories I read, watch, and play, across a variety of genres – from fun space opera jaunts like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, to games like Starcraft II and Frostpunk, to the work of my favorite authors, such as Kameron Hurley, V.E. Schwab, Paul Tremblay, and Riley Sager. Continue reading

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