Author Interview: Michael Zimecki

cropped-ZimeckiHeadshot_FEB14-006-copyToday I am interviewing Michael Zimecki, author of the new crime novel, Death Sentences.

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

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

Michael Zimecki: I’m an attorney by day and a writer at night.  Death Sentences was my first published novel.  My novella, The History of My Final Illness, about the last five days in the life of Joseph Stalin, was previously published in Eclectica Magazine.  I’ve also published articles and short fiction in Harper’s Magazine, The National Law Journal, Cold Creek Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper, among other publications.  Earlier this year, I won a Golden Fedora Award for Poetry from Noir Nation, an international crime fiction journal.  My award-winning poems are slated to appear in the next issue of the magazine, to be out soon.  I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my wife, Susan, and a black cat named Mr. White.

DJ: What is Death Sentences about?


Michael: Death Sentences tells the story of Peter “Pop” Popovich, an unemployed 24-year-old.  He’s a high school drop-out who enlists in the Marines and washes out, receiving a psych discharge.  For a while, he finds work as a glazier, fitting glass into windows and doors, a strange vocation for someone so breakable, but he can’t get along with his co-workers and is soon fired.  Pop, in short, is a loser. He’s also an anti-Semite, a white supremacist, a misogynist, and a gun nut. After he has a falling out with his girlfriend, Pop ends up living with his alcoholic mother. When his dog defecates on the rug in her living room, Pop’s mother calls the cops and asks them to remove her son from her residence.  All hell breaks loose when police knock on the door and find Pop waiting for them with an AK-47.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Death Sentences?

Michael: Death Sentences is loosely based on an incident that occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2009, when a gunman, convinced that the government was coming to take away his guns, engaged in a four-hour standoff with police. Continue reading

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Author Interview: K.B. Wagers

Author_pic_smallToday I am interviewing K.B. Wagers, author of the new science-fiction novel, There Before the Chaos, first book in the Farian War trilogy.

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DJ: Hi K.B.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

K.B. Wagers: Thanks for having me, DJ! I’m a science fiction author living in Colorado. My first trilogy the Indranan War came out in 2016-2017. I’ve got four very strange cats, a house that’s way too big for just my partner and me, and more books than I know what to do with even after downsizing them. I’m a minimalist and photographer who loves macro photography especially.

DJ: What is There Before the Chaos about?


K.B.: There Before the Chaos is about gunrunner turned empress Hail Bristol’s attempt to stop a pair of technologically advanced alien races from going to war with each other in humanity’s backyard. She’s fresh off a victory in a civil war that threatened her empire, has just signed a peace treaty with a neighboring government, and is settling into her new role as empress when things go sideways. The aliens specifically request her help with the negotiations, which is a tall order, but if anyone’s up to the challenge, it’s our recently crowned empress.

DJ: What were some of your influences There Before the Chaos and the series?

K.B.: Anything and everything? *laughs* I do a lot of binge watching/reading between books because I don’t tend to take in a lot of outside media while I’m working, so honestly stuff blurs together so much it’s hard to remember what, if anything, has directly influenced a book.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jake Tringali

Today I am interviewing Jake Tringali, author of the new poetry collection, Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse.

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

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

Jake Tringali: I run rad restaurants in Boston.  I grew up here, and then traveled around the east and west coasts of the States, and now I’m back and living in a big, creaky house next to a very old cemetery in Cambridge.

DJ: What is Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse about?


Jake: After writing for 5 years, and being lucky enough to have more than a few poems published in literary magazines, I reviewed my portfolio.  My poems tended to fall into a few themes: sexy, science, music, apocalyptic. I focused this poetry collection on the apocalyptic side of things, as I thought it was unique in the market, and those poems have something to say about the random value of life in society.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Poetry for the Neon Apocalypse?

Jake: As a teenager, I once read an entire library’s science fiction collection from Asimov to Zelazny in one summer.  This collection is directly influenced by that summer. Specifically, the cyberpunk gods of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

DJ: What type of poetry can readers expect?

Jake: Readers can expect free verse.  Readers can expect curse words. Readers can expect their some fun jabs at both religion and science. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Amy S. Foster


Today I am interviewing Amy S. Foster, author of the new science-ficyion novel, The Rift Coda, final book in the Rift Uprising trilogy. 

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

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

Amy S. Foster: Hi! I am an author and a songwriter. The Rift Coda will be my fourth published book. I am a frequent moderator of panels at various Comic Cons (Go Intersectional Feminism!). I am married to a lovely man I met in High School. I have three kids and I live in Portland, Oregon. I’m an avid knitter and I probably watch way too much TV

DJ: What is The Rift Coda and then the Rift Uprising trilogy about?


Amy: The Rift Trilogy follows Ryn Whittaker who is one of many enhanced teenage soldiers that guard a doorway to the multiverse. That’s the macro story. The micro story is about a girl learning how to lead like a girl and what that looks like up close day to day. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Rift Uprising trilogy

Amy: I’m a consumer of pop culture so everything from Twilight to the Hunger Games to X-men, Buffy the Vampire slayer and that whole slew of late nineties early 00’s WB/CW shows.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Rift Coda

Amy: It was definitely creating all the different versions of Earths and the species and human societies that evolved on those versions. A modern day L.A. if the Roman Empire never fell? Now that was fun. Continue reading

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8f626b4966e6bca0bb587cba3dc0e8d9_1024x1024@2x*Melissa was kind enough to us with a special promotional code MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE20 that can be used at checkout for 20% off anything at!!! And there is no minimum to order, and the code will not expire! See the bottom of the post for more details! 🙂

Today I am interviewing Melissa, founder of the new on-line bookish gift store,, a small company that specializes in bringing books to life on t-shirts and bags.

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

For readers and book enthusiasts who aren’t familiar with your site, could you tell us what is all about?

Melissa: Hi DJ, thank you so much for having me for this interview! Literary Book Gifts is an online store with a wide range of products designed specially for book lovers, teachers, librarians, and anyone who loves to hear a good story. The collection includes a wide range of designs including many well loved authors from Sir Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes, to Jane Austen of Pride and Prejudice.


DJ: What were some of your influences for Why did you want to start your own store?

Melissa: I absolutely love to read. I’ve never been much of a writer myself, but reading, and listening to audiobooks has always been an important part of my life. I’ve have been influenced creatively from every novel I’ve ever appreciated from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter to J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. I wanted to start my own store because I believe literature should to be shared and talked about. Putting designs on shirts and totes is a perfect way to get a conversation started. However this is only true if the shirt fits, so to speak. This is why the collection comes in a wide variety of sizes (XS – 5XL) and colors, so the collection suits the variety of tastes that readers and book lovers have.

DJ: Which book genres and authors do you mainly feature? Do you also have designs that are just geared toward “books” or “reading” in general – rather than a particular novel?

Melissa: The designs are all based particularly off of books or authors from the classics. I don’t filter by genre, because I think all the genres are equally great. There are a few that are more general designs, such as the Typewriter Tote Bag which is great for writers, as well as a vintage book design for readers. One that I really like is a graphic of The End, like the last page of a book.

DJ: What types of products do you sell?

Melissa: Right now the collection includes t-shirts for men and women. There are also tote bags that come in three sizes, small, medium, and large.

DJ: Because I know this is a very important when buying clothes and items of the like: what type of material and quality are your products?

Melissa: I am happy to say that the men’s and women’s shirts are all 100% cotton, with the exception of the heathered colors that contain varying amounts of polyester. The tote bags have cotton handles and the body is made of a strong polyester fabric which is important for the printing process.

DJ: What are some of you personal favorite designs and what are your best sellers?

Melissa: The Edgar Allan Poe design has definitely received a lot of interest, and is a great seller. The Emily Dickinson Tote Bag has received a lot of positive feedback as well. One of my personal favorites is Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book T-Shirt because I love how the silhouette stands out on dark colors. I really also like the Picture of Dorian Gray T-Shirt, it’s more a of a subtle design but I think that the image of the man looking backwards into a mirror really captures the essence of the novel.

  DJ: Where do you get your idea for the designs from?

Melissa: I get the ideas from each and every individual novel. Some of the designs are remastered from old book covers, and some are from various artwork and typography I am able to find. I try to make sure that the colors and composition flow naturally with the title or author I am working with.

DJ: How long has been running for?

Melissa: Just a little over a few months now, I launched it earlier this year.

DJ: What was your favorite part about running so far? What about your biggest challenge?

Melissa: So far I have really enjoyed interacting with the book community, I love hearing their feedback and suggestions. My biggest challenge so far has been the website, I am not that great with things like websites so there were some difficulties getting started, although I hope to learn a lot more about the website design and the internet going forward.

DJ: Do you have any particular goals with Whether it be expanding your collecting to add new products, more authors and books, world-wide shipping, or be a successful small business?

Melissa: I would say everything you mentioned is a goal for me! I’d definitely love to expand the product selection in terms of products, authors, and books. Shipping is important too, especially for international customers, that it be reliable and affordable. And of course, I would love to be a successful small business

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Melissa: Right now the very best way to find me is through the website at Please feel free to get in touch with me about anything at, I love hearing from anyone and everyone!

DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about that we haven’t talked about yet?

Melissa: Each and every design and item is unique and you won’t find the same product anywhere else but on the website!

DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?

Melissa: I would love to add, that as a special promotion for readers of DJ’s blog, the code MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE20 can be used at checkout for 20% off anything in the store. There is no minimum to order, and the code will not expire.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

Melissa: I really enjoyed answering your questions, thank you so much for having me on your blog!

DJ: And the by the way, after much contemplation, even though it would be much more appropriate for me to get the Gray’s Anatomy T-ShirtI can’t resist and I’ve decided I’m going to the promotional code to get me the Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book T-ShirtIt’s actually my favorite one for the exact same reason as you! 🙂

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*** Use the code: MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE20 for 20% off anything in the store!!!***

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Author Interview: Julie E. Czerneda


Today I am interviewing Julie E. Czerneda, author of the new science-fiction novel, Search Image.

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

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

Julie: My pleasure. I’m a Canadian SF/F author, published by DAW Books. I’ve been doing this for a living since 1997, and love it. I’ve edited anthologies and worked in non-fiction as well. My background is biology, which tends to show up in my work and daily life.

DJ: What is Search Image about?


Julie: Esen’s back and she, with her Human friend Paul, have opened their All Species Library of Linguistics and Culture for business. In short order, an interesting dilemma ensues. Well, more than one, all involving alien biology. Esen’s books are episodic, in that each is a complete story with a biology conundrum at heart, but there are threads from one to another.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Search Image?

Julie: Everything that lives. Really. Plus physics. A primary curiosity I have is about communication and how we—meaning anything alive—manages it, and why. Most of Esen’s predicaments, and solutions, come about through failure to understand one another. Incompatible plumbing. Often literally. There could be slime. Continue reading

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Author Interview: D.B. Jackson

Today I am interviewing D.B. Jackson, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Time’s Children, first book in the Islevale Cycle.

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DJ: Hey D.B.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

D.B. Jackson: Gladly – and thanks so much for taking time to chat with me. I’m a veteran of the fantasy and science fiction field, having been at this professionally for over twenty years. Writing as D.B. Jackson, and also under my own name, David B. Coe, I’ve published twenty novels and at least that many short stories. I’ve written epic fantasy, urban fantasy, media tie-ins, and a bit of science fiction. I’m probably best known for the the LonTobyn Chronicle, my first series, which won the Crawford Award, and for the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. I also have a Ph.D. in U.S. history. Most important, I’m married to the World’s Best Spouse, and I have two daughters, ages 23 and 19.

DJ: What is Time’s Children about?

TimesChildren_144dpi (1)

D.B.: Time’s Children is the opening volume in an epic fantasy/time travel series. It tells the story of Tobias a fifteen-year-old time traveler, or Walker, as they’re known in Islevale. He is sent to a royal court, where the sovereign directs him to Walk back in time 14 years to prevent a war. Just after Tobias arrives in that past, though, the sovereign, most of his ministers, and most of his family are killed by assassins. Tobias survives, as does the sovereign’s infant daughter. Tobias, with help from Mara, his friend and love, who follows him back through time, has to keep the princess safe, restore the royal line to power, and find his way back to his own time. But he’s being pursued by the assassins, and, well, it kind of takes off from there.

DJ: What were some of your influences Time’s Children and the series?

D.B.: The world itself is an homage to Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea. The original Earthsea trilogy has long been among my favorite works – along with Lord of the Rings, it’s the reason I fell in love with fantasy. I’ve created lots of worlds through my career, but I wanted this one to be different from those others, and so I made it a world of islands and seas, archipelagos and straits. As I say, similar to Earthsea, though it has plenty of unique elements.

And then, I would say that I was influenced in this project, as with all my work, by the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay. Guy may well be my favorite fantasist. I so admire the flow and beauty of his prose, the complexity of his settings and characters, the intricacies of his plotting. I strive for the same qualities in my own writing. Continue reading

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Author Interview: N.S. Dolkart

14754448Today I am interviewing N.S. Dolkart, author of the new epic fantasy novel, A Breach in the Heavens, final book in The Godserfs series.

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

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

N.S: Sure! I’m an author, Israeli Folk dancer, and cooking enthusiast from the Boston suburbs. I’ve read a lot of Torah in my time, and have many opinions about it, some of them delightfully blasphemous. I have a tremendous amount of fun and I can’t get away from myself, so I must be fun to be around, right?

DJ: What is A Breach in the Heavens and then The Godserfs series about?


N.S: The trilogy follows a group of foreign refugees as they seek community, safety, and meaning on an unwelcoming continent, choosing which gods to appease and which to defy and just generally trying to survive when it seems like everyone in heaven and on earth might have it in for them. And that’s not to mention the fairies, who definitely want to eat them.

In the first book, Silent Hall, the main characters stuck together for safety and comfort while doing everything they could to avoid getting squashed by some god or other. They made some questionable choices, but seemed to come out of it okay.
In the second, Among the Fallen, they split up to pursue individual goals, sometimes to disastrous effect, but still managed to keep it together and even advance in the world, for all the danger that that entails.

Now, in the final book, their questionable choices from Silent Hall really come back to bite them as they seem to have unwittingly set an apocalypse in motion. They’ve all got their separate power bases and their separate ideas for how best to respond, and their allies are pushing them in different directions too. Something’s got to give, and, um, that “something” might well be the sky? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rena Rossner

rena-16-low-resToday I am interviewing Rena Rossner, author of the new fantasy novel, The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

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

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

Rena Rossner: I work as a literary agent, based out of Jerusalem, Israel, but I grew up on Miami Beach, Florida. I have 5 kids, and a pug named Pablo Picasso Neruda, and when I’m not writing or reading (which is almost basically never) you can find me crocheting, doing pottery, or baking (and making slightly more than the occasional cocktail…)

DJ: What is The Sisters of the Winter Wood about?


Rena: The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a fairy tale retelling of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market poem, set in the town of Dubossary (where my great-grandfather came from) on the border of Moldova and Ukraine. It’s the story of two sisters, one that can turn into a swan and the other that can turn into a bear, and what happens when their parents go away and strange things start to happen in the nearby town.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Sisters of the Winter Wood?

Rena: Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market poem has always been one of my favorites, but I was also inspired by the Jewish/Hassidic Folktales that I grew up on, and their confluence with many Russian, Ukrainian, and Moldavian myths and legends. There are many swan-maiden and swan-prince folk tales, and the bear is one of the symbols of Russia, and the folk tale of the Shpoler Zaidy tells the story of a man who dances in a bear cloak to save a fellow Jew. It wasn’t too much of a jump to turn him into an actual bear, and so, parts of my story started to tell themselves. I also always wanted to read a fantasy novel with elements of the Yiddish language in it – which is a very colorful, and also sometimes magical language – and I knew that the only way that would happen is if I took the reigns and wrote one myself. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Paul Heatley


Today I am interviewing Paul Heatley, author of the new crime noir novel, Violent by Design, final book in the Eye for an Eye series.

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

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

Paul Heatley: Hey DJ, thanks for having me! I’m a British writer from the north east of England with some previous titles under my belt – The Motel Whore & Other Stories, Guns, Drugs, And Dogs, Fatboy, and the first two in the Eye For An Eye series, An Eye For An Eye and The Runner.

DJ: What is Violent by Design and then the Eye for an Eye series about?


Paul: The Eye For An Eye series focuses primarily on the exploits of Graeme Taylor and Tracksuit Tony Gordon and their affiliation with the Doyle family, based in Newcastle Upon Tyne. In the opener, An Eye For An Eye, Graeme and Tony are brought in to track down a guy who has accidentally blinded Neil Doyle’s (the patriarch of the family) daughter Jasmine, taking out one of her eyes with a dart. The accidental perpetrator, however, is part of a violent, rival family, who are determined to keep his whereabouts secret, and protected. Needless to say, things get pretty bloody! The Runner is a prequel/companion to An Eye For An Eye, taking place before the events of that tale. It features cameos from some of the characters from the first, including Jasmine (with both eyes), and most predominantly, her older brother Michael. It is, however, a largely self-contained story. Violent By Design picks up one year after the events of An Eye For An Eye. Graeme Taylor is in a self-imposed exile after the events of the previous story, and Tony works for the Doyle’s in a larger capacity. There’s a new head of security called Jimmy Finlay, as well as a new threat from a taxman (a rip-and-runner), as well as new interpersonal relationships between the characters that I won’t give away here. Continue reading

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