07Jul/17

Review of Daimonion by J. P. Jackson

The dark n’ sweet J.P. Jackson visited our show just last week! To hear his interview with Vance and find out more about his debut horror fantasy novel, Daimonion (The Apocalypse Book 1), published on July 10 2017, follow this link! Episode 119: I Like Flirting With The Darkness

REVIEW

I was gifted an ARC for an honest and fair review.

Daimonion is many things. The first book in The Apocalypse trilogy, a debut novel, and a blood-spattered, gory quest for one demon who struggles with the whole “killing kids” thing. The book is told in the first person, and has more than one protagonist, but it works because they are each given a chapter, clearly marked. This can go horribly wrong, but not in this case.

Dati is the main character, a demon who is a bit hapless, to be honest. Despite his his job description, he seems to have a human side, which gets him into all sorts of trouble, especially when he tries to save one special person who eventually ends up in a cocoon. He just seems to have the kiss of death about him, but I liked him because he was obviously struggling with unfamiliar feelings. Obsession, rather than love, but for a demon, it’s a start….

I couldn’t fault the writing at all. There were no faltering mis-steps at any stage, so I felt I was in good hands, which was essential as urban fantasy horror is not a genre I’m familiar with. I usually like my horror to to have a human heart, allbeit one that has been dragged across a gravel road, still beating. This was unfamiliar and it took me a few pages to really get into it. But I did because the author has obviously had a huge amount of fun, throwing in satyrs, vampyres (not sparkly ones), shape-shifters and blood-thirsty demons, and a succubus so sexy I almost fancied her myself.

At first, I thought I was going to miss the human set-up before realising that it was there, but told from the demon’s side, something I’ve never experienced before. The most memorable human was the girl, untrained witch, Jenae, also a stroppy teenager, which I loved. Her voice was en pointe, a thoroughly modern witch, without resorting to stereotype. The dialogue was sharp and there was a lot of humour, but not in a slapstick way. The book didn’t take itself too seriously, as some of these books about an imminent Apocalypse can be. The bombastic horror is inescapable, but balanced with a lightness of touch. It’s an interesting concept and a risky one, but it works.

One quibble would be that the plot was slightly confusing, as books with lots of characters and unfamiliar names always are (to me.) With first books, there is a tendency to throw in the kitchen sink, just in case you never write another one, and I sensed an element of that, even though the book is part of a trilogy. Now that everyone has been introduced, it will be really interesting to see how the plot develops. With a less frantic pace, the reader will have more breathing space to sit back, relax and enjoy.

As well as the icky parts, the descriptions were fantastic, steeping the reader in a post-modern, urban world with utter conviction. Monster dogs, magic, creatures of fantasy move around an indeterminate city, scenes of torture are gut-twisting but never seem gratuitous. The characters all had some element which kept them from being unsympathetic, apart from Master, who is badass (but then, he has to be…) Alyx, Dati’s potential/possible love interest, did get more interesting as the book unfolded, as well as Dati’s inner conflict over unfamiliar feelings for him.

To round up, this is a steaming, visceral debut novel for those who like their urban fantasy steeped in blood and gore, and demons wrestling with human dilemmas.

BLURB

Dati Amon wants to be free from his satyr master and he hates his job—hunting human children who display demon balefire. Every hunt has been successful, except one. A thwarted attempt ended up as a promise to spare the child of a white witch, an indiscretion Dati hopes Master never discovers.

But Master has devilish machinations of his own. He needs human-demon hybrids, the Daimonion, to raise the Dark Lord to the earthly realm. If Master succeeds, he will be immortal and far more powerful.

The child who was spared is now a man, and for the first time in three hundred years, Dati has a reason to escape Master’s chains. To do that, Dati makes some unlikely alliances with an untrained soulless witch, a self-destructive shape shifter, and a deceitful clairvoyant. However, deals with demons rarely go as planned, and the cost is always high

06Jul/17

J.P. Jackson

July 7, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce J.P. Jackson as the guest on Episode 119: I Like Flirting with the Darkness!

This week JP Jackson joins us to discuss his first novel, what happens when you flirt with darkness, finding your genre, and the year of too many projects.

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Bio:

J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night however, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summoning’s in the basement. And apparently imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.

 

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06Jul/17

Review of Spinning The Record: Stories by Robert Hyers

I was gifted a copy for an honest and fair review. The book is available in ebook, paperback and as an audiobook. We will have the pleasure of interviewing Robert Hyers later in the summer!

Don’t let the rather lofty blurb put you off. Robert Hyers’ anthology of short stories is a pleasure to read. Amidst the pin-sharp observations and savage wit, there are also gripping, staggeringly-detailed and well-written tales, all set amidst the gay club scene.

And a what a scene it is; dripping with drag queens, twinks, muscle-boys, and ordinary, newly-out men stumbling around as they try to find their feet in a vivid, complicated new world. The fashion, the music, the threat of homophobic violence at every turn. And the drugs…

There are a LOT of drugs, with some graphic details of their use and aftermath, enough to make a middle-aged lady clutch her pearls. Nothing is really glamorised. Instead, it is searingly honest, telling of the dark side of all the seemingly carefree, hedonistic fun. There’s nothing in the way of balls-to-the-wall sex, but it is implied, and that makes it all the more potent. It’s a heady, painful mix that will ring true for many men, whatever their age, race and financial circumstances.

It is all here, an oozing, sticky melting-pot that you will want to stick your finger into again and again, even though sometimes, the ingredients are hard to digest. I read this all in one gulp, as once I had read the first story, I couldn’t actually put the book down. This is a world I’m unfamiliar with; a frightening, colourful, dangerous world. It is hard to choose a standout, but the stories that stick in my mind the most are Bosom Buddies and Bacchae. The first is the stage performance of two drag queens, one reaching for the stars, the other falling from them. Any story that features RuPaul’s Drag Race will immediately have my attention, and the result is savage but hilarious. It is one of the shortest stories, but packs a powerful punch.

The second, Bacchae, concerns two men out with their “fag hag” female friend, ostensibly to pull her out of postpartum depression. I hate, hate, hate the term “fag hag” but it fits in this book, and anyway, the story isn’t about her. It’s about a kiss, a misunderstanding, dreams dashed and a spark of hope. Bittersweet and beautiful.

BLURB

Spinning The Record documents the search of its impoverished queer white and Latino protagonists for individuality inside the spectrum of the gay identity. Within the primary settings of gay clubs and raves in Manhattan and urban areas of New Jersey, these protagonists search for meaning and identity through illicit drugs, sex, pop culture, Greek mythology, and Christian iconography.

 

 

 

 

29Jun/17

T. C. Orton

June 30, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce T.C. Orton as the guest on Episode 118: Cheerios for Breakfast!

This week TC Orton returns to discuss his latest work, a choose-your-own-adventure titled Iudicium, the challenges of his works in progress, and the importance of good food.

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Bio:

T. C. Orton has had a passion for supernatural stories from a young age, often scribbling down his latest ideas instead of focusing on whatever task was at hand during the long school days. At the age of twelve, he penned his first romance story featuring himself and the boy he had feelings for set in a fantastical land full of werewolves and wizards. Ever since that day, T. C. has made it his mission to entwine his leading gay protagonists with epic paranormal adventures.

T. C. resides in the United Kingdom, living with his partner Peter Jones and their dog, Drake.

 

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March 24, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce T. C. Orton as the guest on episode 104: If There’s a Puddle, I’m Happy!

This week T. C. Orton joins us to talk about the gods of storytelling (like the creators of Buffy) who use metaphor and symbolism, the surprise warmth of fan support, the amazing author camaraderie, and telling a story about becoming a monster.

Follow and support Craig’s work:

Bio:

T. C. Orton has had a passion for supernatural stories from a young age, often scribbling down his latest ideas instead of focusing on whatever task was at hand during the long school days. At the age of twelve, he penned his first romance story featuring himself and the boy he had feelings for set in a fantastical land full of werewolves and wizards. Ever since that day, T. C. has made it his mission to entwine his leading gay protagonists with epic paranormal adventures.

T. C. resides in the United Kingdom, living with his partner Peter Jones and their dog, Drake.

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25Jun/17

Review of Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields

Out-of-this-world guest J.S. Fields joined us very recently on our show! To hear more about her and get links to her work, click on Episode 117: And She Really Liked Ladies!

REVIEW

I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to science fiction. I like familiarity, something to grasp at like a life buoy when the science becomes a little too … sciency. I like names I can pronounce, characters with Earth-like problems, and a setting I can almost identify with. Not quite, but almost.

Ardulum has none of these things, and as a result, I struggled with it. Names like Ggllyll and Mmnnuggl kept cropping up, as well as the occasional use of non-binary pronouns (zir/ze) and this made it a challenging read, especially for a novice science-fiction reader.

Having said that, the quality of the writing shines through. The author’s ability to keep the reigns of a complex plot, packed full of technical detail and vulnerable, believable characters, is testament to how much skill she has. Neek is an (other-)worldly wise, legally paid pirate, travelling through space, delivering goods across the galaxies. Exiled from her people by daring to voice her scepticism over the existence of the Ardulum, ancient people who enriched the lives of her ancestors before vanishing into legend, she is destined to roam the star-systems as a disgraced non-believer. Enter slave child Emn, who could be the one person to bring her peace, or is she?

There is a lot to take in, from the complicated relationships between the protagonists to the large cast of secondary characters. The author knows what she is doing. That much is obvious. The plot is sure-footed, lifted up by confident writing with sure knowledge of the science involved. As I said, I’m a novice, and this book scares me to death and makes me feel just a bit stupid for not fully grasping it. This isn’t intentional on part of the author. Her intellectual approach to the story is just way above my pay grade. The hardened sci-fi readers will lap it up. It has everything they need, from slick gadgetry to crunchy violence, a strong main character and enough tech-talk for buffs to argue over for years. I said before that I struggled with the occasional appearance of non-binary pronouns, but that’s a personal thing. If they work anywhere, they should work best in a sci-fi setting. It shouldn’t put readers off, but it’s worth mentioning.

So I wish I was able to “get” this more. The time, love and craftwork put into constructing the book is obvious and I appreciate it. I hope seasoned sci-fi readers give it the attention and praise it no doubt deserves.

 

BLURB

Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.

Neek does not believe—and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views.

Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl—a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?

 

22Jun/17

J.S. Fields

June 23, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce J.S. Fields as the guest on Episode 117: And She Really Liked Ladies!

This week J.S. Fields joins us to discuss her latest work, Ardulum – First Don, wood science as sci-fi technology, and being a queer author and educator in a sometimes conservative field.

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Bio:

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. She enjoys roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, but prefers female pronouns.

Fields has lived in Thailand, Ireland, Canada, USA, and spent extensive time in many more places. Her current research takes her to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest each summer, where she traumatizes students with machetes and tangarana ants while looking for rare pigmenting fungi. She lives with her partner and child, and a very fabulous lionhead rabbit named Merlin.

 

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15Jun/17

Michael Holloway Perronne

June 16, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Michael Holloway Perronne as the guest on Episode 116: Caucasian Rhythm Disorder!

This week Michael Holloway Perronne joins us to discuss his latest work, Gardens of Hope, and its setting in a Japanese concentration camp, as well as placing stories in the deep south, and his next emotionally-charged project.

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Bio:

Michael Holloway Perronne is the author of eight books including: “A Time Before Me,” “Falling Into Me”, “A Time Before Us, Men Can Do Romance” “Gardens of Hope,” and “Embrace the Rain.” His debut novel, “A Time Before Me” won the Bronze Award, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in the Gay/Lesbian fiction category.

Michael was born and raised in Mississippi. He received a BA in Film from the University of Southern Mississippi and a MFA in Drama and Communications from the University of New Orleans. He currently resides in Southern California and is working on his next novel, “The Other Side of Happy.”

 

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08Jun/17

F.E. Feeley Jr.

June 9, 2017

Cover Reveal: When Heaven Strikes

It gives us great pleasure to welcome F.E. Feeley Jr. back as the guest on Episode 115: Pin Him Down!

F.E. Feeley Jr. returns to the show to unveil the cover of his upcoming novel, and to talk about what a Paranormal Romance Guild membership can do for you. He then drops a hint about his next work in progress. We’ll give you a hint… “paper faces on parade.”

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Bio:

F.E.Feeley Jr is the author of six published works. Four full length novels, two short stories featured in anthologies, and poet. Married to the love of his life, John, he came to the writing world about four years ago where he fell in love, again, with the written word.

 

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23 July, 2015


Indigent
Still-Waters
Timber
It gives us great pleasure to announce F.E Feeley Jr. as the guest on episode 009: Fingers Grasping the Veil!
Join us as we talk with Fred about his journey, writing horror, and the truth beneath the fiction.
You can find Fred’s novels here:

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01Jun/17

‘Nathan Burgoine

June 2, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce ‘Nathan Burgoine as the guest on Episode 114: The Three Second Review!

This week ‘Nathan Burgoine joins us to discuss his series, to drop announcements of his upcoming projects, share the importance of chosen families, unveil Canada as a setting, and share the magic of the three sentence review.

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Bio:

‘Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. His first published short story was “Heart” in the collection Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. Since then, he has had dozens of short fiction pieces published. His first novel LIGHT was a Lambda Literary Finalist. Both Light and his second novel, Triad Blood, are available from Bold Strokes Books.

A cat lover, ‘Nathan managed to fall in love and marry Daniel, who is a confirmed dog person. Their ongoing “cat or dog?” détente ended with the adoption of Coach, a six year-old husky. They live in Ottawa, Canada, where socialized health care and gay marriage have yet to cause the sky to cave in.

 

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25May/17

Vance Bastian

May 26, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Vance Bastian as the guest on Episode 113: He Finally Lost It!

This week Vance Bastian is in the hot seat! A host of characters join in to discuss character creation, narration, and marketing.

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Bio:

Vance Bastian loves being a professional storyteller. He writes urban fantasy about sandmen and reapers. He has grown his acting and voice background into to a career performing voice-over work and narration for both radio and audiobooks.

He is also a founding host of the WROTE podcast – bringing you interviews and news of authors who write, perform, and tell LGBTQ stories.

When nobody’s looking, Vance is a complete sci-fi and fantasy geek.

 

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