09Feb/18

Hannah Carmack

February 9, 2018


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Hannah Carmack as the guest on Episode 150: I Guess What Changed Was Me!!

This week Hannah Carmack joins us to talk about her first novel Seven-Sided Spy, poetry, the visibility of disabilities in fiction, her spotify playlist, and working with youth through STEM Reads!

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Bio:

Hannah Carmack is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University. She enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time working for the organization STEM Read, connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. She has a number of poetry publications, all of which regard living with ulcerative colitis. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it. Her debut novel Seven-Sided Spy was released January 2018.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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08Feb/18

Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

Having read The Stark Divide, I was already confident in this author’s world-building technique and ability to tell a rip-roaring tale. Skythane is the story of Xander and Jameson, ostensibly on a mission to find supplies of pith (a mind-altering drug) but they find themselves at the centre of a race to save the planet from destruction.

First of all, a quibble, albeit a small one. As ever, the essential and comprehensive glossary is at the back of the book, where I only discovered it at the end, where it would have been useful at the beginning.  Also, some of the names could be confusing for some. Xander is a skythane (winged being) and Jameson is a Lander (without wings.) Tander is a mining colony where Jameson used to work, and Slander refers to a city slum area.

Having said that, most of those names only appear a few times, and the important ones are Xander and his Lander companion, Jameson, who are both ADORABLE, and have such chemistry, I was willing them to get together. Also high on my love list was Quince, the capable skythane who hides the pain of a lost love behind a brusque exterior as she tries to keep the boys on track to focus on what truly matters, the prevention of Armageddon.

There are a lot of characters to get one’s head around, but whether you will enjoy this is purely down to how much you trust the author to keep everyone in check and give them enough to do. And the author does. He makes sure they all have stories of their own to tell in future books, keeps them all in check and steers the reader safely through a complex and alien environment.

I loved the way the way every creature, every fruit, plant, the technology, the weather,  food cooking methods, the weaponry, the transport, the cities, religious structure, every little thing has been carefully crafted and molded into a truly believable, fantastical, terrifying world, full of conflict but at the same time, alien and beautiful. Add in divided loyalties, a burgeoning romance and peril from sinister pursuers, and you have science fiction in its purest sense. I loved it.

BLURB

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

08Feb/18

The Calling by M.D. Neu

This is an elegant vampire novel, with cleverly interwoven plot arcs that are challenging and intriguing at the same time. It begins with main character Duncan being lured (or “Called”) to meet a beautiful and mysterious woman, along with other disparate individuals. He doesn’t know that he is being tested, and once he passes the test, whether he wants to take advantage of the riches he is promised.

Duncan was slightly irritating at first, as he seemed not to be able to commit himself to anything, both in thought or deed. Always second-guessing himself (is he or is he not a nobody?), there was not enough for me to really identify with his dilemma and I found it difficult to relate to him as a human being thrown into a glamorous, Immortal world. However, as his relationship with Juliet and her assistant develops, he becomes a more rounded character. There is an undercurrent of menace, as he is treated like a human dress-up doll by the two women, whilst being subtly manipulated into the Immortal lifestyle and having strange, disturbing dreams.

I wouldn’t say it was a particularly dark read. There is a bit of gore in places, and sexy undercurrent which streams throughout the book but I’m not sure the warning of “graphic sex and violence” at the beginning was really warranted. There are a couple of sexy, explicit scenes, but I’ve read much stronger stuff in so-called romantic fiction.

The important thing is the story, the Eighties-esque glamour, the fashion amidst almost corporate intrigue. If Judith Krantz had written paranormal/vampire novels, they may have been very much like this.

To round up, although I didn’t really connect with Duncan’s character, I had a lot of respect for this book’s ability to immerse the reader in the Immortal world. It was well-written and carefully balanced, with alluring background characters and fabulous set-pieces. I didn’t find it an easy read, as I don’t normally gravitate towards paranormal novels, but for those who want their vampire novels a little different, not twinkly yet not too dark, it’s definitely worth checking out.

BLURB

Being nobody isn’t necessarily Duncan Alexander’s life goal, but it’s worked for him. He has a nondescript job, a few good friends, and overall he’s content. That’s until one fateful trip to San Jose, California, where he is ‘Called’ to meet the mysterious Juliet de Exter.  Juliet is a beautiful, wealthy, powerful Immortal who is undertaking ‘The Calling’ – a search for a human to join her world of Immortals.  Inexplicably, Duncan’s calling is more dangerous than any of the Immortals, even Juliet, ever thought it would be.

There is more to this nobody, this only child of long deceased parents, than anyone thought. When Duncan begins experiencing uncontrollable dreams of people and places he doesn’t know and hasn’t been, Juliet and the other Immortals worry. Soon, his visions point to a coven of long dead witches. The dreams also lead Duncan to his one true love. How will Duncan navigate a forbidden romance with an outcast Immortal.  Will he and the others keep the balance between the Light and Dark, survive vicious attacks, and prevent the humans from learning who they truly are? More importantly, who is this implacable foe Duncan keeps seeing in his dreams?

02Feb/18

Mel Gough

February 2, 2018


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Mel Gough as the guest on Episode 149: Serial Numbers Filed Off!!

This week Mel Gough joins us to talk about her first novel A World Apart, her fan fiction roots, and then she shares some give-away goodies!

Give-Away Contest!!:  Sign up for Mel’s email list** before February 9 for a chance to win an e-copy of A World Apart!!  https://tinyletter.com/melgough

** Mel sends out roughly one message a month, so your inbox won’t be inundated!

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Bio:

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and earned her Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university, she moved to London, where she has lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works for an NGO as operations manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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26Jan/18

Rebecca Langham

January 26, 2018


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Rebecca Langham as the guest on Episode 148: And That’s By Design!!

This week Rebecca Langham joins us to talk about her first novel Beneath the Surface, playing Broomball, genre-before-romance, being Australian, and then drop the dish on her next book!

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Bio:

Rebecca Langham lives in the Blue Mountains (Australia) with her partner, three children, and menagerie of pets. A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, she’s a lover of science fiction, comic books, and caffeine. When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.

Her Sci-Fi novel Beneath the Surface will be released by NineStar Press in early 2018. The sequel is currently being drafted.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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19Jan/18

Jeff Jacobson

January 19, 2018


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Jeff Jacobson back as the guest on Episode 147: Gruff & Scrindr!!

This week Jeff Jacobson returns to talk about breaking his first novel into two books, The Boy Who Couldn’t Fly Straight and The Boy Who Couldn’t Fly Home, where his series is heading, and his first big fancy book launch!

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Bio:

Jeff Jacobson was born in Seattle in 1968, and grew up enchanted by the lush landscape, the long summer days, and the short winter nights of the Pacific Northwest.

Once, when he was a wee kindergartner, his grandmother let slip that she was a “modern witch, who flew on a vacuum cleaner over his house at night to protect him.”

Jeff had seen her vacuum cleaner. The cord wasn’t long enough to reach his house.

But in bed that night, left alone with creaky sounds and branches scraping over window frames, he decided that having a witch for a grandmother wasn’t such a bad thing. Even if it weren’t true…

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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Or right here:


May 20, 2016

 TheBoyWhoCouldntFlyStraight

May 20, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Jeff Jacobson as the guest on episode 058: No Longer A Bratty Dilettante!
Join us as we discuss his writing journey, YA Novels – what’s allowed and what’s not, witch tropes, stockholm syndrome and witches – who knew?, and the dangers of teaching pulp culture refs to non-English speakers.

You can buy Jeff’s work here:

Follow Jeff on your favorite social site:

Bio:

Jeff Jacobson was born in Seattle in 1968, and grew up enchanted by the lush landscape, the long summer days, and the short winter nights of the Pacific Northwest.

Once, when he was a wee kindergartner, his grandmother let slip that she was a “modern witch, who flew on a vacuum cleaner over his house at night to protect him.”

Jeff had seen her vacuum cleaner. The cord wasn’t long enough to reach his house.

But in bed that night, left alone with creaky sounds and branches scraping over window frames, he decided that having a witch for a grandmother wasn’t such a bad thing. Even if it weren’t true…

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayiHeartRadioSpotifyStitcherTuneIn

Or right here:

12Jan/18

B. A. Brock

January 12, 2018


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Ben Brock as the guest on Episode 146: Admittedly Wide Rule!!

This week Ben Brock joins us to talk about his first novel, King of the Storm, bisexuality, pansexuality, and being trans in the MM community!

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Bio:

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.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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Or right here:

05Jan/18

A.E. Ross

January 5, 2018


It gives us great pleasure to welcome A.E. Ross as the guest on Episode 145: Hey I Can Do This!!

This week A.E. Ross joins us to talk about their first novel, Run in the Blood, coming to novel-writing from screen- and animation writing, and writing that represents non-binary identities, mental health, and chronic illness!

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** NOTE: Here’s that cute 5-year old YouTube reviewer mentioned in this episode LINK

Bio:

A.E. Ross grew up in a small town on a medium-sized island on the West Coast of Canada with two older brothers.

They received a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Victoria in 2009, and a Diploma in Screenwriting from Vancouver Film School in 2010.

They currently resides in Vancouver, B.C. where they work as an Associate Producer for Kickstart Entertainment, as well as a freelance writer and story-editor.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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Or right here:

02Jan/18

Waiting for Walker by Robin Reardon

This novel takes a lot on. Without giving too much away, there are some big issues at  play here, amongst them coming out to parents, the processing of grief, learning to trust, racism and dealing with all the questions arising from Walker being intersex. It could be a murky mix of navel-gazing and histrionics, but it isn’t. Instead, there is a delicately-balanced story of young love, set against the misunderstandings of two families, one of which have their own devastating loss to deal with as well.

The story, intricate and compelling, is told through the eyes of Micah, a young gay man who falls totally in love with Walker. Even as he learns more about Walker’s gender, and the inevitable questions it poses about his own sexuality, his emotions are incredibly tender and real. At the same time, he is dealing with his mother’s grief over his lost brother, and the fact that his father has moved on and found happiness with another woman. It’s a huge burden for any teenager to bear, and Micah reacts in a totally convincing manner; switching from surly to affectionate to sullen again. He was written very well, never losing my interest for a moment, and remained appealing even when he was in one of his moods, and the author has a knack of drawing their secondary characters so well, they almost share top billing with the two leads.

The descriptions of Long Island Sound, sailing for the first time and the burgeoning emotions are exquisite. You can almost smell the sea air and feel that flutter of anticipation as Micah falls inexorably in love with Walker. The story is atmospheric, almost dreamy at times, but not in a way that gets in the way of the plot, which moves along at just the right pace. For an easy read, it packs a big emotional punch.

I believe this book has a wide appeal, from young teenagers just exploring who they are as people, to anyone interested to know more about intersex relations and love. It certainly educated me without being preachy, and the ending was immensely satisfying (no spoilers.) This is definitely a book I will read again in the future.

BLURB

“Maybe, when you trust completely, you leave yourself open to the pain of someone else.”

Micah Jaeger’s life is a mess. His folks have split, and his mother is seeing a medium to communicate with Micah’s older brother, killed in Afghanistan. He had to change schools for his junior year, and he retreats further into himself, hiding behind his camera—and hiding that he’s gay.

One sunny day in June, as he’s shooting a dead seagull on the shore of Long Island Sound, a mysterious guy appears in a beautiful sailboat. At first, the guy’s boat shoes are the image that stays with Micah. But soon it’s the person himself, Walker Donnell, who haunts Micah’s dreams.

Walker’s life looks perfect to Micah. His wealthy parents adore him. He has everything he could want. He’s gorgeous and generous. And he falls hard for Micah. But he has a secret: Walker is intersex.

The closer Walker and Micah grow, the more Walker feels the need to be sure of himself in ways he hasn’t fully faced before, and now it’s his turn to retreat. Micah knows Walker is worth waiting for, so he waits. And waits.

29Dec/17

Keely-Toby

December 29, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Keely and Toby as the guests on Episode 144: Lots of Colors!!

This week two teens, Keely on the West Coast and Toby in the Midwest, join us to talk about what they like in books and media, and what they’d like to see more of!

 

This Podcast Episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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