01Sep/17

JC Long

September 1, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to welcome JC Long as the guest on Episode 127: I’m Not Whitewashing Hong Kong

This week JC Long joins the show to discuss his the next release in his Hong Kong Nights series, A Matter of Courage, writing in a non-western setting, and sensitivity readers.

Follow JC and support his work:

** Episode Note: **
There was some discussion about movies this episode.  The title SA Collins was thinking of is Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Viewed on Netflix.

Bio:

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that.

His favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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29Aug/17

The Stark Divide (Liminal Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth

REVIEW

WROTE alumni J. Scott Coatsworth has recently been on our show! To hear more about his collaborations with other authors and get links to his work, check out Episode 124: Renewal – Or Handsoap for the Masses.

The author gifted an ARC of this novel for an honest and fair review. Publication date October 2017.

Sci-fi can be a little po-faced at times, or quirky to the point of artifice. It can be difficult to strike the balance between intelligent story-telling and dumbing down the science-y bits for the masses. This author has been on my radar for a while. I’ve read some of his short stories, but never a full-blown novel.

Basically, this is a story split into three parts, threaded together by three generations of the same family. In the first part, we are introduced to the mothership, Dressler (or Lex, in ship-mind form, so the humans can relate to it.) Lex is critically wounded by a fungus that may or may not have been introduced intentionally, entailing a heart-stopping race to save her cargo from destruction before she is destroyed. Her cargo is the seed which will create a new world for humans wanting to escape Earth, which is slowly being torn apart by wars, big business and human fallibility.

Each part of the book is set a few years ahead from the next, so there is a real epic quality, a sense of journey, as humans attempt to start again, having screwed up the planet they were originally put on. Inevitably, the same old problems rear their ugly heads even in this Utopian worldly (called Forever.) This is a potent tale in an era where the problems the characters are coming up against are very familiar. Namely, the refugee crisis, capitalism and politics, power play, and wars that escalate, causing mass devastation. The fate of the dying Earth is very dark indeed.

In contrast, it is wonderful to see the birth and development of Forever, borne out of the asteroid Ariadne, where the seed was planted. And whilst this could easily be a bleak tale of a dystopian future, it isn’t, due to the ingenuity, compassion and generosity of the characters the author has created. The potential villain appears near the end, and is bound to have his day further down the series.

I loved the diversity of the characters, all without the common angst over who they are, or the usual mutterings of those around them. Some are gay, some are straight, some are trans. Get over it. It’s so refreshing to have a character that just happens to be trans, and yes, it is inevitable that their personal circumstances have a bearing on how they act around other people, but it isn’t a big thing. And the gay couple are in a long term, loving relationship. Again, that’s it. Accepted. Move on. We should have more characters in mainstream novels like this, which would go a long way to aid acceptance in the wider world.

Anyway, soapbox time over. This is a great science-fiction novel, and a cracking start to a gripping series. There is also a helpful glossary at the back. I’ve said this before with books. I just wish I had known the glossary was there before reading the whole book first! This would have been helpful to either, a) have it at the front or, b) mention it at the front so I know it’s there. It isn’t as easy to flip back and forth with an e-reader, but anyway, I was grateful for the added information. Not that there are a lot of unfamiliar words, but it does help to enrich and understand the world the author has created.

Finally, there are elements of everything here. An adventure, a rescue, the creation of a new world, machines with organic elements and Artificial Intelligence. The Lex character may or may not have the humans’ best interests at heart. That’s all I’m saying. In a word, this is a great novel, with awesome world-building and a plot that satisfies the sci-fi buff in all of us.

BLURB

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed. 

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her. 

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human. 

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

25Aug/17

Angel Martinez

August 25, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Angel Martinez back as the guest on Episode 126: A Chart of Jackalopes!

This week Angel Martinez returns to the show to discuss her next Offbeat Crimes release, Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs, the importance of asexual characters, and the balance of ‘author as friend’ in social media.

Follow Angel and support her work:

Bio:

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-eight years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

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October 14, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce J Scott Coatsworth and Angel Martinez as the guests on episode 079: Flash Fiction Takes Flight!

This week J. Scott Coatsworth (Moderator of Queer SciFi) and Angel Martinez (of Mischief Corner Books) join us to talk about the art that is the Flash Fiction contest, what they looked for as judges, and to announce the release of the contest’s anthology: Flight. As a bonus, SA “Longform” Collins shares what he learned as a competitor!

Check out the Flight anthology and join the Queer SciFi community:

Connect with and support J. Scott Coatsworth:

Connect with and support Angel Martinez:

Bio:

J. Scott Coatsworth has been writing since 4th grade, when he won a University of Arizona writing contest for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid-twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member. Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some started years before. After seeing his first sale, he’s embarking on a new trilogy. He also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Angel Martinez is the unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower, intellectual family. She has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

 

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August 5, 2016

limegelatinandothermonsters_9781786514691_xlrg-180x288It gives us great pleasure to announce Angel Martinez as the guest on episode 069: Angel Martinez – Now With Bonus Content!

Join us as we discuss her recent blog tour, humor in queer fiction, how to use a convention to extend your audience base, and things you need to consider when you want to re-issue a story with a new publisher!

You can buy Angel’s work here:

Connect with Angel on your favorite social site:

Bio:

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

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June 25, 2015

LimeGelatin-100 TheColorofhisCrest-100
PillBugsTime-100 flaxspursuit_100
It gives us great pleasure to announce Angel Martinez as the guest on episode 005: She Came, She Saw, She Made a Mess!
Join us as we discuss Angel’s accidental “sideways” move into Science Fiction, her ire over 2 dimensions and paper dolls. You’ll fall in love with her wry wit as she professes both her vexation and love of multiple genres.Angel’s recent works include:

Follow Angel on your favorite social site:

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24Aug/17

Welcome To Crash by Lina Langley

REVIEW

The magical Lina Langley was recently a guest on our show! To find out more about Lina and get links to her work, check out Episode 123: Why Is There Magic In it?

No doubt the M/M romance fascists will get their panties in a knot over this one, featuring as it does a man caught between two lovers, a scenario in which the ending will always be bittersweet.

Yes, hunties, the main character CHEATS on his boyfriend. Get over it and move on, because this is a wondrous treat, an effortless read that I couldn’t wait to get back to. I read it over the course of three evenings, and was immediately in love with the characters. Damien and Levi’s relationship feels so incredibly real. Levi wants to keep their affair discreet because of their tutor/student relationship. His character felt familiar, a dreadlocked, groomed and decent man who has been chased and seduced by the Pan-like Damien, only to see the boy/man begin to crumble.

Damien is of age but eyebrows would still be raised if people found out. He accepts Levi’s insistence on secrecy but grudgingly. At times he seemed fairly young in attitude and speech, and then I realised that was because he hadn’t quite shed the arrogance of youth, and was unable to see the effect his actions would have on others. I liked him, though, because he was willing to accept that he had faults, and grow with them. His vulnerability and sense of guilt made him human, and who are we to throw the first stone?

Photographer John, wavering between gay and straight, is blown away by 21st Century Damien, although he does not know that Damien is out of time. John is suitably grungy, a tortured, grubby artiste fighting for recognition under the dominating wing of his mentor, a man who should be dead, but somehow isn’t.

This book wasn’t all about the love triangle, but about the circumstances around it. And what circumstances! The way the reader finds out what is happening to Damien, via his attempt to tell Levi about John, the time-bending twist; the horrible realisation that everyone around you thinks you are going insane; it was all wonderfully simple to understand but elegantly told. I really wanted all these characters to succeed in getting what they wanted. In less capable hands, a plot like this would be a hot mess, but without giving spoilers, I can safely say I enjoyed it right to the very last word. Definitely an author for those who are looking for romance with a piquant flavour of realist fantasy.

BLURB

At first, Damien feels lucky to land a job at an influential art studio, but it soon becomes obvious that something’s not right. His gorgeous boss, John, is interested, and he’d be the perfect man for Damien—if Damien wasn’t already in a relationship. It isn’t long before Damien is at the center of a love triangle, forced to choose between hot, punk John and his secret affair with his professor, Levi. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because something impossible is happening to Damien—and it’s having a drastic effect on his health as well as his perception of reality. 

Each time Damien goes to work, things grow more bizarre, starting with Sam—an artist who has been dead for years and now somehow… isn’t. Damien’s unusual circumstances also free him from the restrictions of monogamy—or so he thinks. Levi, who cannot believe Damien’s claims, fears for his sanity. John also has strong doubts when Damien reveals knowledge of a catastrophic event looming in John’s future. Whether the men he loves believe his wild claims or not, neither can deny Damien is languishing, and if they cannot save him, he’ll be lost. More importantly, they must convince Damien to save himself.

18Aug/17

Garett Groves

August 18, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Garett Groves as the guest on Episode 125: I Have a Bad Habit of Making My Characters Fall in Love!

This week Garett Groves returns to talk about wrapping up his Spice of Life series with Milk & Honey, starting his new political Off the Record series with Clickbait, and how he wrote a political drama by focusing on the in-between-newsbites parts of life.

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Bio:

Garett Groves is a new M/M romance author based in Southwest Florida. There he enjoys spending time with his husband and their two cats. Their hobbies include: being disgustingly codependent, sleeping, eating junk food, and drinking copious amounts of red wine. Sadly, their cats don’t share in the wine drinking—yet!

 

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May 5, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Garett Groves as the guest on Episode 110: Bad Pantser, Be A Plotter!

This week Garett Groves joins us to talk about his new novel Sugar & Spice, accepting romance writing as art, and May-December relationships.

Follow Garett and Support his work:

Bio:

Garett Groves is a new M/M romance author based in Southwest Florida. There he enjoys spending time with his husband and their two cats. Their hobbies include: being disgustingly codependent, sleeping, eating junk food, and drinking copious amounts of red wine. Sadly, their cats don’t share in the wine drinking—yet!

 

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11Aug/17

J. Scott Coatsworth, Angel Martinez, and B. A. Brock

August 11, 2017

It gives us great pleasure to announce J Scott Coatsworth, Angel Martinez, and B. A. Brock as the guests on episode 124: Renewal, or Handsoap for the Masses!

This week J. Scott Coatsworth (Moderator of Queer SciFi, founder of QueeRomance Ink), Angel Martinez (of Mischief Corner Books), and B.A. Brock (Also of Queer SciFi) join Vance to talk about the art that is the Flash Fiction contest, what they looked for as judges, and to announce the release of this year’s anthology: Renewal. Scott then shares his upcoming epic science fiction release, The Stark Divide.

Check out the Renewal anthology and join the Queer SciFi community:

Connect with and support J. Scott Coatsworth:

Connect with and support Angel Martinez:

Connect with and support B.A. Brock:

Bio:

J. Scott Coatsworth was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. He has published fifteen stories, including two novels.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that celebrate fiction that reflects queer reality.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Angel Martinez is the unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower, intellectual family. She has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-eight years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

B. A. Brock has lived most of his life in the Pacific Northwest, with a couple years in Oklahoma. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 2007 at Portland State University–which he mostly uses to contemplate how we can achieve a civilization more closely aligned with Star Trek.

During a round of Dungeons and Dragons, he discovered a desire to write out some scenes from his character’s story. Those scenes became an obsession, that obsession led to writing classes, and an author was born.

When not writing, Brock spends his time reading/reviewing novels, training for marathons, hanging out with his dog, and bemoaning the fact that the world has yet to make a decent gluten free doughnut.

 

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04Aug/17

Lina Langley

August 4, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Lina Langley as the guest on Episode 123: Why Is There Magic in It?

This week Lina Langley joins us to discuss her upcoming novel, Welcome to Crash, blending genres, ghost writing for a living, and her work developing the upcoming game Talk to Me, a western visual novel.

Follow Lina and support her work:

Bio:

Lina Langley is a first-generation immigrant. She currently lives in sunny Florida and spends her time slashing hot strangers while getting coffee.

Her past is haunted by spies, thieves, tyrants, and murderers. A resident of the world, she’s lived on three different continents. She first saw a radiator when she was twenty-two years old, and one time she followed a cat instead of going to a house party.

She likes to read, watch TV, and play video games when she’s not developing them. The rest of her free time is spent recreating her own characters in The Sims and hoping that people don’t look at the back end of her games.

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01Aug/17

Shax’s War (Brimstone Book 3) by Angel Martinez (Audiobook)

REVIEW

For the purpose of review, this is the second series I’ve started in the middle, and as such, I have to make the assumption that most readers will have already read the first books.

I’m reviewing this because it is the audio version, narrated by Vance Bastian. It doesn’t take long to realise that I have to give this audiobook my full attention. NB: It isn’t a book to be listening to with your kids. The voices of Shax and Ness are immediately captivating, so much so that even driving is probably inadvisable, especially during the love scenes which, though infrequent, are S-T-E-A-M-Y.

Martinez writes good sex, that’s for sure, but she also creates memorable characters, cracking dialogue and fantastic story-telling, bought to life by Vance’s narration. A cocktail of caramel, cream and tequila, garnished with jalapeño is probably the nearest you will get to tasting the audio delight of this book. As a novella, it is a fairly quick read, but as an audiobook it is a fat n’ juicy 3 hours plus.

The story is basically a rescue. Shax the demon and Ness the angel are an established, loving couple, despite their obvious differences. When Shax plays dirty during a Trauma Ball game, it sets in motion a chain of events that leads Ness into danger and Shax on a desperate mission to rescue him from bad humans who want to harvest various angelic parts for their own purposes (eternal youth, etc.) Meanwhile, Ness is getting through his ordeal with the aid of a friend called Leopold, a sweet, pink hedgehog….

Anyone who loves Vance Bastian’s voice may find it hard to concentrate on what he’s saying, as opposed to how he is saying it. The audio quality is excellent and his narration first class, but because his voice is like a duvet made of honey and gossamer, seducing your ears, it almost upstages the book.

Almost, but not quite, because Martinez’s observations and comedic timing are pin-sharp and brilliant, as well as hilarious. I loved curmudgeonly Shax, angelic Ness and queenly Ivana, as well as Leopold, who may or may not be a figment of Ness’s vivid imagination. There are a few too many characters for me to follow properly, making the plot a little more convoluted than it probably needed to be. The problem with an audiobook is, it isn’t as easy to re-read if there is confusion, as you can with an e-reader or novel. But it’s a small quibble, because there is so much to enjoy here, it is almost an embarrassment of riches.

I recommend you listen at least twice, because you’ll find a lot to enjoy, not only from the sci-fi-tastic plot, action, adventure and colourful characters, but to wallow in the audial delights of the US’s male answer to the Cadbury’s Caramel Bunny. When a dream-weaver meets a cunning linguist, the result will always be a smorgesbord for the ears.

BLURB

Brimstone Series: Book 3
Next Book: Beside a Black Tarn
Preceded by: Fear of Frogs

The boys desperately need a vacation. With the not-quite-ill-gotten gains from the Frog incident, Shax takes the Brimstone’s crew to the exclusive resort planet, Opal, for some much needed rest and relaxation. The resort has everything a demon prince and his crew could want, but an incident on the Trauma Ball court sends Ness stalking off in anger and sends events swiftly spiraling out of control.

Shax will need every bit of his cunning and his legendary luck to save his Ness as he’s drawn into a web of criminal experiments and…pink hedgehogs?

Novella: 40,500 words/178 pages

THE BRIMSTONE SERIES
Potato Surprise: A Brimstone Prequel
Hell for the Company
Fear of Frogs
Shax’s War
Beside a Black Tarn

01Aug/17

Town & Train by James K. Moran

Speculative realist writer, James K. Moran, has been chatting to Vance on our show! To learn more about him and get links to his work, give Episode 122: Horror Is My First Love a listen.

REVIEW

A slice of small-town Americana, spliced with horror, is always going to be a satisfying mix. The two seem to compliment each other, as they do here when various characters who want to escape their hum-drum existence, accidentally summon a snorting demon from the gates of Hell.

The author has an interesting style, letting the reader get to know each character in short, sharp well-observed snippets, so you care about them before he starts killing them off. There is David, new-to-the-area cop and closeted bisexual, who is tasked with solving the mystery of the train and the disappearance of various townspeople. He’s seen it, but no-one seems inclined to believe him. And there is teenage dirtbag John, a bullied, wannabe metalhead who refuses to be a victim, courting his chief tormentor’s girlfriend. That tormentor is Cutter, soon-to-be undead metal freak responsible for most of John’s miseries. John wakes up by the rail tracks to see Cutter and his pals being whisked away to undoubtedly certain death.

The real villain of the piece is the titular demonic chuff that turns up at seemingly random times, after the sultry conductor “hears the townspeople’s call.” This was a bit tenuous, to be honest. I didn’t get a sense of rhythm or a build-up to when this would happen. The reason for it to turn up in the first place is also a little thin. After all, surely wanting economic wealth and growth for a town isn’t a bad thing? But doing anything to get it, including protecting odious individuals from just punishment IS a bad thing, which made sense. When people start disappearing, it is obvious that something strange is going on. When one person seems to be alive and normal, but isn’t, that is an idea that could have been expanded further before the confusing finale.  Yet the train is genuinely menacing, and there are some great atmospheric scenes that make up for hiccups in the plot.

Which was a little hit and miss. The subplot of Grant and his mistress ended somewhat unsatisfactorily, as most affairs do, and I couldn’t see the tie-in with the main plot. It was all a little too neat. The town pedo also didn’t seem to get the reward he was no doubt entitled to. Interesting that there was some attempt to make him sympathetic, but we make our choices, and for me, that didn’t work. In places, I found the denouement to be a little incoherent, especially towards the end, necessitating a couple of reads to make sure I understood it – I’m still not sure I do. Some major characters just seemed to disappear, without the neat ending. This seems a contradiction, but there are times when tying everything up is okay, and times when it isn’t. In this book, the lines are blurred.

Having said that, I loved the inventiveness of the plot, the building of atmosphere, the genuinely scary moments a la James Herbert or Stephen King. There are Koontz-esque scenes of banal normality set against an increasingly glowering backdrop, and a sense of impending doom as both David and John independently try to figure out how to prove that the town is being haunted by a ghost train from hell. And the characters, apart from the nasty ones, are genuinely likeable. Although David drinks WAY too much and still seems to function perfectly well.

So, a little uneven in places, but with characters to care about, and a genuinely frightening antagonist, set against the backdrop of a dying town overshadowed by  a stinking paper mill, this has atmosphere by the bucketload and enough scares to give a late-night shiver.

BLURB

In a small Ontario town, seventeen-year-old John Daniel wakes by the railroad tracks with no recollection of how he got there. Something called him from his bed. Officer David Forester, a recent transfer from Toronto, struggles to fit into the local police force, despite resistance from established circles. Both soon suspect a more pervasive and menacing collusion occurring in town when an antique steam train arrives late in the night. At the phantasmal engine, a conductor promises the desperate locals escape from their town dying with so many closed stores and shattered dreams–but there is no denying what the stranger really brings is the stuff of nightmares.

 

28Jul/17

James Moran

July 28, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce James Moran as the guest on Episode 122: Horror was My First Love!

This week James K. Moran joins us to discuss his novel, Town & Train, blogging and short fiction, why speculative fiction characters need to mirror real people, and starting his own writer’s group.

Follow James and support his work:

Bio:

Ottawa author James K. Moran’s fiction and poetry have appeared in various Canadian, American and British publications, including Glitterwolf, Icarus, On Spec and The Rolling Darkness Revue. A longtime contributor to what is now Daily Xtra, Moran’s articles have also appeared via CBC Radio, the Ottawa Citizen and Rue Morgue. In 2012, he founded the Little Workshop of Horrors, an Ottawa-based writers’ group. The workshop carves speculative and literary work into the shape it is meant to be. He blogs at jameskmoran.blogspot.ca. Town & Train (published by Lethe Press in November 2014) is his debut horror novel.

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