Author Interview: David Wilkinson

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Today I am interviewing David Wilkinson, author of the new sci-fi murder mystery novel, Under the Shell.

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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 Wilkinson: I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t, I’m still very early in my writing career. My first novel, We Bleed the Same was written in a series of workshops bought for me as a birthday present by my wife after she got fed up with me saying I was going to write a novel. It must have gone well though, as it was both published and short-listed for the East Midlands Book Award 2015. I love writing stories about people and my thought process always starts as dialogue. However, as a physicist by day, I’m committed to keeping the science grounded even though it remains firmly in the background.

DJ: What is Under the Shell about?

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David: Under the Shell is set in Engalise – a city under siege with no formal laws. Individuals have a few basic rights and these are upheld by Freedom Protection Agents. Jaq Pilakin is one such agent and specialises in murders. As a relatively unknown, independent agent, she has to build cases out of dead bodies that appear to be accidental and one such turns into a string of killings by someone who also then tries to kill her and has a good go at destroying the city into the bargain. Of course there are a lot of twists and turns and Pilakin herself has a dark, bloodstained past she is running away from, so plenty to keep the reader guessing.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Under the Shell?

David: Murder investigation in a closed megacity? Well, of course it all starts with Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which I read as a child. The wider world in which this book is set (the Anjelican Universe) is one I have been creating since early childhood and so many writers have influenced it along the way. I enjoy putting the odd word or half-sentence from such books into my writing here and there, as little Easter-eggs for those who may have also read them.

I had always had Engalise marked down as an ultra-libertarian dystopia and planned to have Pilakin character in it. I panicked a little, then, when Max Barry wrote Jennifer Government but it turned out he had come to the situation from the opposite direction. In his book the people are powerless without money, whereas here, it is my agent is. However, Jennifer Government certainly helped me crystallise my thoughts on how such a society might function. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Women in Dark Fantasy have Changed by Linda Robertson

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Linda is an internationally published author. In 2006, she won first place in the OSU/Mansfield Florence B. Allen writing competition and soon after earned a cum laude Associate of the Art’s Degree in English. She is a proud member of Broad Universe, a nonprofit international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Linda will be appearing at International Horror Hotel and Film Festival June 2 and 3 in Richfield, Ohio, at DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend and World Fantasy Convention Nov. 1-4 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Working as Linda Reinhardt she composed, created, and produced an original musical score for Jovienne, which is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Website: www.authorlindarobertson.com

Facebook:
Interact: authorlindarobertson
Fan page: lindarobertsonbooks

Twitter: authorlinda

Goodreads: /LindaRobertson


Women in Dark Fantasy have Changed

by
Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered, from angles on escapism vs. exploration, to writing some kind of how-to. Then the search engine offered me a Pinterest collection, women in dark fantasy. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rob Boffard

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Credit: Nicole Simpson

Today I am interviewing Rob Boffard, author of the new sci-fi novel, Adrift.

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

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

Rob Boffard: I am Iron Man. Well, I would be, if Tony Stark was South African. Also if he had terrible hair, a ton of tattoos, no money, was unable to build anything without it breaking, couldn’t do math, had an accent like a Canadian being punched in the voicebox, and wrote about spaceships and explosions for a living. But other than those things, I am absolutely Iron Man. Honest.

DJ: What is Adrift about?

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Rob: OK, so you’ve been on vacation, right? And I’m guessing you’ve been on one of those terrible tour buses with the sticky plastic seats and the crackly PA system and a guide who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Now imagine that: but in space. A tiny, shitty tour ship, going around a luxury hotel in the far reaches of the galaxy, while the tourists inside gawk at the Horsehead Nebula. The hotel is attacked and destroyed by a mysterious ship, and these tourists in their little cruising vessel are the only survivors. They’ve got minimal supplies, no weapons, and nobody back home knows they’re alive…

DJ: What were some of your influences for Adrift?

Rob:  Too many trips on crappy tour buses. But in terms of books: The Langoliers, by Stephen King, and Day Four by Sarah Lotz – both stories about ordinary people trapped in a pressure-cooker situation.

This question also has a slightly weird answer, because one of the books that also influenced it was Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman. It’s this amazing sci-fi story with space battles and killer viruses and psychotic AI, and blew my mind. The thing is, though, I actually read it after I wrote Adrift. It definitely affected how I rewrote the book, and raised the bar for the kind of things I wanted to accomplish.  Continue reading

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Author Spotlight: Moon Beam by Steven Burgauer

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About the Book:

Peril stalked the corridors of the lunar habitat. Fear was its companion. The killer, a woman, fed on that fear. No one in the lunar station was safe from her wrath, not even the fresh, young team that had just arrived from Earth to erect the first lunar space elevator. When completed, the space elevator was destined to be one of the great engineering projects of all time. The unreeling of the space cable had just begun, when the killer struck a vengeful blow.

Now, with a catastrophic solar flare flashing overhead, the race was on.

Can Chief Clay Flynn and Senior Tech Lou Santini stop her before it was too late? Can they save the lives of the men, women, and children of the Lunar Station and its life-sustaining resources from total annihilation?

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Peng Shepherd

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Photo by Rachel Crittenden

Today I am interviewing Peng Shepherd, author of the new dystopian novel, The Book of M.

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DJ: Hi Peng! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Peng Shepherd: Thank you for having me! The Book of M is my first novel, and it still feels like a dream that it’s actually out there. I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid, but really decided to get serious about it several years ago. I moved to New York to attend NYU’s MFA in creative writing program, which is where I first got the seed of the idea for this book, but it wasn’t until after I graduated that I finished it. Before that, I studied International Studies and Diplomacy and worked for several years in the private security industry. Very different, I know!

DJ: What is The Book of M about?

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Peng: The Book of M is about a mysterious phenomenon that first causes one person’s shadow to disappear, but then rapidly spreads across the globe, with terrifying effects—those who lose their shadows also start to lose their memories, but at the same time gain a new, dangerous kind of magic, and this begins to tear the world apart.

Husband Ory and wife Max have survived unscathed for two years, until at the beginning of the book, Max’s shadow suddenly disappears too, which forces them decide whether to keep hiding or to confront the nightmarish land outside their hideout in the hope of finding a cure.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Book of M?

Peng: I love big, sprawling stories set in our world but with some kind of fantastical or sci-fi twist, like Stephen King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage series, or Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. I really admire how those authors made each character feel so real, and how frighteningly possible their fictional realities seemed. Continue reading

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Guest Post: When Worlds Collide: Science Fiction and Physical Therapy by LJ Cohen

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LJ (Lisa Janice) Cohen is a poet, novelist, blogger, ceramics artist, local food enthusiast, Doctor Who fan, and relentless optimist. She lives just outside of Boston with her family, two dogs (only one of which actually ever listens to her) and the occasional international student. When not doing battle with her stubborn Jack Russell Terrier mix (aka “other dog”) or hanging out with her lab/hound mix (aka “good dog”), LJ can be found writing, which looks a lot like daydreaming. She writes SF, Fantasy, and YA novels under the name LJ Cohen.

LJ is a member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and Broad Universe, a national organization promoting women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

She also is a member of The Scriptors, an indie and hybrid author collective, where she blogs monthly on topics related to the writing life.

Once in a Blue Muse is LJ’s personal blog, where she has been posting about her life, work, publishing, and random observations since 2004.


When Worlds Collide: Science Fiction and Physical Therapy

by
LJ Cohen

I started writing stories when I was a child. At the time, I devoured anything even remotely related to science fiction or fantasy, so of course, those were the kind of stories I wanted to write.

The usual advice came my way from well meaning teachers and from my parents: Write what you know.

But what does any ten or eleven year old know? Like many kids, I lived in a world of imagination where the ordinary took on eldritch meanings. So I wrote about UFOs, magical talismans, and portals. But I didn’t have the lived experience or the knowledge to match the stories that seemed so brilliant in my mind.

I spent a long time believing this advice meant I couldn’t write what my imagination dreamed of writing.

Fast forward about three plus decades until I was a young mother with a rewarding career as a physical therapist. I still gravitated to reading SF&F and I still had the desire to write. So I returned to story ideas I’d had as a child and started writing again, but this time, I had the perfect rebuttal to my elementary school teachers: I took what I had been reading over a lifetime, added my professional knowledge to it, and linked them both to the emotional truth of my lived experiences.

What I knew wasn’t only the events of my day to day life; it was much richer and deeper than that. And my stories began to reflect it.

So what did I know best? I had studied anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy, kinesiology, communication and teaching methods, pain management, exercise and movement analysis, and differential diagnosis. I had some skill with early computers and programming. But I also had experienced love and loss, disappointment and good fortune. And change. Always change. 

Technology, medicine, and injury braid together to help drive each plot arc across all five of the volumes that make up the Halcyone Space series. Among my ensemble cast are characters with injuries, impairments, and disabilities. They also each have specific talents, interests, strengths, and struggles. These elements are not merely plot points, but are part of how each character reacts to external events and internal needs. This is particularly evident in ITHAKA RISING.

While the books take place in a near future world, there is still no perfect cure for brain trauma and Jem Durbin, a young computer genius, is overwhelmed with headaches, vertigo, and nausea, made worse when he tries to focus his vision. Desperate, he is willing to risk his life to get a black market neural implant. 

Lieutenant Commander Emmaline Gutierrez is an upper extremity amputee. She lost her left arm in the war that ended forty years before the events of the series. It is part of who she is that she makes the choice to use what appears to be a fairly primitive artificial limb with a claw hand, rather than a more anatomical and cosmetic one. That choice resonates with every other choice she makes in the books. 

Rosalen Maldonado is coping with PTSD from years of emotional abuse by her father. This, too, colors all her choices and actions. It especially makes acting as Halcyone’s captain and trusting her crewmates a challenge. There are times when Ro’s fear of trust and intimacy places them all at risk.

Barre Durbin, Jem’s older brother, wrestles with his guilt over Jem’s head injury. Jem would never have been hurt had he not been trying to help Barre escape the consequences of illicit drug use and their parents’ threats of forced commitment. 

Jem disappears. Ro and Barre attempt to rescue him. And because all choices have consequences, their actions lead to a planet that shouldn’t exist and decades-old secrets that could very well ignite a new war.

I’ve never uncovered conspiracies or fought in covert wars. I don’t understand the physics of wormhole travel and artificial gravity. But I do know a fair amount about people and some of the many ways we cope with adversity. 

For the rest, I rely on imagination, which is something we all know something about.

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*** Ithaka Rising is available to purchase TODAY as a part of the SFWA Scince Fiction Buyndle!!! ****

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Buy the Book:

StoryBundle


About the Bundle:

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Welcome to the largest, grandest and most out there bundle SFWA has ever done: the Sci-Fi SFWA Space Bundle! With 17 books that range from hardcore military sci-fi to character-focused alien encounters, we might have gone through the wormhole and out the other side.

SFWA serves authors at all points in their careers and we’ve embraced that diversity for this bundle. First, the Self-Publishing Committee reached out to a number of sci-fi authors throughout the genre who we know have enthusiastic and diverse fanbases. Then we opened the bundle up for submissions to our entire membership. We received far more submissions than we could actually put in this bundle, but after some rousing debate, we settled on a total of 17 spectacular titles.

Some of the proceeds of the bundle go to support SFWA in its mission to support, promote, inform, defend, and advocate for professional fantasy and science fiction writers. For more about the organization, see sfwa.org. For its grants program, see http://www.sfwa.org/2017/09/call-grants-2017/ – Daniel Potter

Not only that, but during our 3 week run, all StoryBundle newsletter subscribers get Qualify – The Atlantis Grail Book 1 by Vera Nazarian for free. Make sure to get that so you can enjoy Compete – The Atlantis Grail Book 2 by Vera Nazarian, available in the bundle!

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!


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Author Interview: Cynthia Kirkwood

BF6BFFC7-F786-471F-92B6-A8AF75A76283Today I am interviewing Cynthia Adina Kirkwood, author of the new literary, digital dystopian novel, Turn On, Tune Out.

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

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

Cynthia Adina Kirkwood: Thank you, DJ. I’m a former San Francisco Chronicle journalist. I’m also  a baby boomer straddling two centuries. I learned how to type on a manual typewriter. Now, I type on a computer. So, I can see both the wonder and the danger of computers and the Internet.

DJ: What is Turn On, Tune Out about?

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Cynthia: A British composer turns outlaw in Los Angeles. Angelica Morgan flouts a computer law that cripples creativity by mandating four daily hours of screen-watching. In the year 2033 in California, artists, who steal time off-line, are considered suspect, criminal, and dangerous.

DJ: If you could compare this book with any book out there that we might be familiar with, which book would it be?

Cynthia: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury introduces us to a world where people watch wall-size televisions incessantly (the novel was published in 1953 before the age of big screen TVs) and so-called firefighters burn books for peace of mind of the populace.  Over several decades, people had embraced new media – TV and films – and a quickening pace of life. Books were ruthlessly abridged to accommodate shorter and shorter attention spans, while minority groups protested against perceived controversial content. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Challenges and Rewards of Writing a Series by Dave Creek

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Photo by Andry Creek

Dave Creek is the author of the novels CHANDA’S AWAKENING and SOME DISTANT SHORE, novellas TRANQUILITY and THE SILENT SENTINELS, and short story collections A GLIMPSE OF SPLENDOR and THE HUMAN EQUATIONS.
 
He’s also published the Great Human War trilogy, including A CROWD OF STARS (2016 Imadjinn Award winner), THE FALLEN SUN, and THE UNMOVING STARS.
 
Dave also edited TRAJECTORIES, an anthology of stories about space exploration and its many challenges, and is the author of MARS ABIDES: RAY BRADBURY’S JOURNEYS TO THE RED PLANET, a non-fiction look at Bradbury’s Martian stories.
 
His short stories have appeared in ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT and APEX magazines, and the anthologies FAR ORBIT APOGEE, TOUCHING THE FACE OF THE COSMOS, and DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS.
 
In the “real world,” Dave is a retired television news producer.
 
Dave lives in Louisville with his wife Dana, son Andy, Corgi/Jack Russell Terrier mix Ziggy Stardawg, and polydactyl cat Hemmie.


Challenges and Rewards of Writing a Series

by
Dave Creek

Science fiction has a long tradition of stories that take place within a series or a common future history.  E.E. “Doc” Smith began his Skylark series in AMAZING STORIES in 1928, and continued with his Lensman series in 1934, also in AMAZING.  Catherine Lucille Moore chronicled the adventures of her hero Northwest Smith and swordswoman Jirel of Joiry.  Many other authors quickly learned the appeal to readers of revisiting characters and situations.   Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephen Zimmer

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Today I am interviewing Stephen Zimmer, author of the new sword and sorcery/dark fantasy novella, Depths of Night, first book of a new novella series of stand-alone tales following the adventures of Ragnar Stormbringer.

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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:  Great to be back with you and your readers!  For those that don’t know me or what I do just yet, I am a writer/filmmaker based in the heart of Kentucky.  I write primarily speculative fiction, with published works in fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, cross-genre fiction, steampunk, horror, and, very soon, young adult!  

Among other things, I enjoy broadcasting and am a regular podcast host on the Star Chamber Show on Blog Talk Radio.  I also founded the Imaginarium Convention, an annual convention that takes place in Louisville, KY themed on all-genres of creative writing.  

My interests are wide and varied, ranging from martial arts, to good Kentucky bourbons, to film, reading, travel, music, and cats such as the wonderful Dubious, who is a member of my immediate family (he even has his own Facebook and Instagram pages!).  

Above all, I’m a laid-back guy who puts 150% into my work and gets up each day with the goal of taking another step forward, no matter if that step might be large or small.

DJ: What is Depths of Night about?

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Stephen:  Depths of Night is the first published Ragnar Stormbringer Tale.   It is about Ragnar going on a sea raid to the lands of the Petranni, who are inspired by ancient Celtic cultures.  When Ragnar goes ashore, they find that the tribal people have abandoned their homes and taken refuge in a large fortress.  The story is about Ragnar’s discovery of the reason for the tribe’s abandonment of their homes, and his response to it, which brings him up against fearsome adversaries.  This is a tale that involves lots of action, supernatural elements, and plot twists.

DJ: What were some of your influences Depths of Night and the series?

Stephen:  Depths of Night and the other Ragnar Stormbringer tales bring out influences of mine such as Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell, both of whom are masters of heroic fantasy fiction.  I have a lot of influences as a writer, but these tales are definitely centered around an iconic, heroic figure, and as such they reflect my love of Howard, Gemmell, and perhaps even a little R.A. Salvatore too!

I should also mention that my readers were another influence for the decision to go forward with this series, as I wanted to be able to bring more stories to them in between my larger novel releases. Continue reading

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Author Interview: David Keck

2040D016-DE0C-4F3D-94DE-CFB3ECA53A64Lisa (@ Over the Effing Rainbow), Jorie (@ Jorie Loves a Story) and imyril (@ One More) are delighted to bring you WYRD AND WONDER, where they plan to celebrate all things fantastical throughout the month of May!


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Today I am interviewing David Keck, author of the new fantasy novel, In the Eye of Heaven, first book in the Tales of Durand series.

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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 Keck: Big picture, I’m a prairie Canadian. Winnipeg is where I grew up, and it’s still the place I think of when someone asks about “home” although I’ve been living in New York City for fourteen years. Somewhere along the line I got hooked on science fiction and fantasy. I remember watching Star Trek reruns after school, and playing Hoth in the snow drifts. I will also confess to playing Dungeons and Dragons too much at high school.

I did a degree in writing at the University of Sussex and snuck off to climb around castles and henges as often as I could. I am not sure how many tombs and towers and mossy stones I’ve seen. (An Ordnance Survey map can be your best friend). Now, I’m a teacher in a Washington Heights middle school. Life can be astonishing. Oh, and, when I grow up, I also want to be a cartoonist! (I love drawing monsters and things, and a few have appeared in professional spots over the years).

DJ: What is In the Eye of Heaven about?

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David: In the Eye of Heaven is the story of a real, rust-and-muscle knight who backs into the center of a civil war full of mad dukes and sorcerous horrors. It’s the first book in a trilogy, and it sees our hero, Durand Col, miss out on an inheritance and make some terrible mistakes as he tries to find his own way. Without giving away too much, Durand earns a place in the retinue of a young man who hopes to prove himself as a tournament hero. Before the end of the novel, the half-war of those early tournaments leads Durand and his friends deep into the politics that tear their nation to pieces.

DJ: What were some of your influences In the Eye of Heaven and the series?

David: I’m a huge reader of actual history and folklore. I’m deeply interested in how people actually lived and died–and what they believed while doing it. My bookshelves are crammed with the stuff. So, when I turned to writing In the Eye of Heaven, I brought with me all of the eerie folktales and grim histories I’d been reading. In some ways, what you get is an antidote to an Arthurian romance. You will find uncanny places and ancient sorceries, but the men and women you meet must deal with broken bones, grumpy horses, and at least one scrape with medieval dentistry. Continue reading

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