Tag Archives: Fantasy

08Jan/21

The Magic Emporium Authors

January 8, 2021

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Meghan Maslow, EJ Russell, Ari McKay/Rachel Langella, and Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin as the guests on Episode 302 – The Save Me Sack!

Meghan Maslow, EJ Russell, Ari McKay/Rachel Langella, and Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin explode onto the 2021 scene with their multi-author series “The Magic Emporium.” The four bring their wit and banter to our show to share the project’s concept and their individual contributions! We also explore what a world bible can do for an author writing as part of a team.

If you’re looking for comedy, fantasy, or dead bodies in your romances—sometimes all three at once!—Meghan Maslow’s your gal. She loves writing gay romance because she’s a sap for a happy ending, and believes everyone should be able to find books that have them. And if that romance comes with a dash of mischief, magic, or murder, all the better.
The Best Place to follow Meghan Maslow:


E.J. Russell-certified geek, mother of three, recovering actor–writes romance in a rainbow of flavors. Count on high snark, low angst, and happy endings. Reality? Eh, not so much.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
The Best Place to follow EJ Russell:


Ari McKay and Rachel Langella are a writing duo who have been working together since 2004. As Ari McKay, they write Contemporary and Action/Adventure romantic fiction, while they publish Urban Fantasy and Paranormal as Rachel Langella.

Rachel is an assistant teaching professor of creative writing and literature, while Ari is a former systems engineer who moved to full time writing in 2020. Their collective works include the Herc’s Mercs action/adventure series, the Asheville Arcana series, and the Blood Bathory trilogy of urban fantasy.

When not writing, they can be found binging shows together, or collaborating on historical and fantasy costumes.
The Best Place to follow Ari McKay and Rachel Langella:


Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy, MM paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic and urban fantasy, with less romance, more explosions.
The Best Place to follow Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin:

Book Series Mentioned in this Episode:

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20Nov/20

J. Marshall Freeman

November 20, 2020

It gives us great pleasure to welcome J. Marshall Freeman as the guest on Episode 295 – Coming Out As a Novelist!)

J Marshall Freeman shares his latest release, The Dubious Gift of Dragon Blood. We talk about the evolution of the book and real, self-discovering queer characters in a world with dragons!

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Books Mentioned in this Episode:

Bio:

J. Marshall Freeman is a writer of fiction and poetry, a musician, and graphic designer. He is a two-time winner of the Saints+Sinners fiction contest (2017 and 2019). In 2019, he published “Arthropoda,” a chapbook of poetry.

In December 2020, his young adult fantasy novel, The Dubious Gift of Dragon Blood, will be published by Bold Strokes Books. Upcoming work includes the young adult adventure novel, Barnabas Bopwright Saves the City, and the climate change science fiction novel, Cicada Rises from the Earth.

He lives in Toronto, Canada with his husband and dog.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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28Jun/19

Lou Hoffmann

June 28, 2019


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Lou Hoffmann as the guest on Episode 222 – Lots of Light and Flying!

Lou Hoffmann joins Baz for a lively and thoughtful discussion about queerdom in literature, society and how they are expressed in YA works.

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Books Mentioned in This Episode:

Bio:

Lou Hoffmann, a mother and grandmother now, has carried on her love affair with books for more than half a century, and she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—partly because the list keeps growing. She reads factual things—books about physics and history and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. She loves all sorts of wonderful things: music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, flora and fauna, rivers and seas. Even good movies and popcorn! Those things help her breathe, and everyone she knows helps her write. (Special mention goes to (1) George the Lady Cat and (2) readers.) Proud to be a bisexual, biracial woman (of European and Native American descent), Lou considers every person a treasure not to be taken for granted. In her life, she’s seen the world’s willingness to embrace differences change, change back, and change again in dozens of ways, but she has great hope for the world the youth of today will create. She writes for readers who find themselves anywhere on the spectrums of age, sexuality, and gender, aiming to create characters that live not only in their stories, but always in your imagination and your heart.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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04Jun/19

Ithani (The Oberon Cycle Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

The third and final part of the Oberon Cycle trilogy, the first books being Skythane (Book 1) and Lander (Book 2) The books must be read in order, the first concentrating on building the world the author has created, and the second adding more characters to those already introduced.

The worlds of Oberon and Error have been lovingly crafted right from the get-go, so I felt I knew the characters and their surroundings, the curious alien foods they eat and the commodities they treasure. There is an excellent glossary in each book too, reminding the reader of what unusual words mean if they get stuck as I did on occasions. And the size of the glossary alone is testament to how meticulous the author has been in creating these worlds.

The writing was flawless in all three books, with colourful, almost cinematic set-pieces and rounded-out, diverse characters. As with a lot of fantasy/sci-fi novels, there were a LOT of characters, which is always risky as sometimes it can be hard to connect to them all. And yes, I did have a job remembering all of them, and what their dynamics were. There were places where I had to re-read to ensure I was following the plot correctly.

But in this world, the world of Oberon, everyone had their role, and there wasn’t one character that I felt didn’t really need to be there. They were an engaging lot as well, even the bad guys. I don’t want to give too much away, to be honest, fearful of letting a spoiler loose by accident.

What I can say is by the end of the trilogy, a lot of the characters, Jameson and Xander, Quince and Robin, almost felt like friends. Their dialogue was approachable and very natural. I love the mix of pronouns, the diverse genders and sexualities; it really was a rainbow cast, and with cool tech to boot.

Also I saw echoes of our own world and warnings for the future of what we stand to lose if we aren’t responsible for our planet (but not in a heavy-duty, worthy way) but in the end it was just a really good story from start to finish. I think I said in my review of Skythane that Scott’s writing made me fall in love with sci-fi again.

And at the end of this trilogy, I’m glad to say I’m more in love with it than ever.

BLURB

Time is running out.

After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson, and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani—the aliens who broke the world—have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing friend and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin, and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny, and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise….

24May/19

Sera Trevor

May 24, 2019


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Sera Trevor as the guest on Episode 217 – I’m the Expert What Are You Gonna Do?

Sera Trevor returns to talk about her latest release, Son of Beauty God of Death, and what to do when your carefully planned book goes off the rails.

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Books mentioned in this episode:

Bio:

Sera Trevor is terminally curious and views the 35 book limit at her local library as a dare. She’s a little bit interested in just about everything, which is probably why she can’t pin herself to one subgenre. Her books are populated with dragons, vampire movie stars, shadow people, and internet trolls. (Not in the same book, obviously, although that would be interesting!) Her works have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, including Best Contemporary, Best Fantasy, and Best Debut, for which she won third prize in 2015 for her novella Consorting With Dragons.

She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a cat the size of three cats.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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October 12, 2018

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Sera Trevor as the guest on Episode 185 – Ugh Reality!!

Sera Trevor joins us to talk about her upcoming release, Earthly Pleasures, as well as writing fantasy in M/M, and fantasy that is not set in or inspired by medieval times!

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Books Mentioned in This Episode:

Bio:

Sera Trevor is terminally curious and views the 35 book limit at her local library as a dare. She’s a little bit interested in just about everything, which is probably why she can’t pin herself to one subgenre. Her books are populated with dragons, vampire movie stars, shadow people, and internet trolls. (Not in the same book, obviously, although that would be interesting!) Her works have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, including Best Contemporary, Best Fantasy, and Best Debut, for which she won third prize in 2015 for her novella Consorting With Dragons.
She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a cat the size of three cats.

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

10May/19
William C Tracy author photo

William C. Tracy

May 10, 2019

Fruits of the Gods book cover
It gives us great pleasure to welcome William C. Tracy as the guest on Episode 215 – 110 Percent Germination!

William C. Tracy joins us to discuss his latest novel, Fruits of the Gods, as well as cosplay, selling at cons, and the importance of inclusivity.

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Books mentioned in this episode:

Bio:

William C. Tracy writes tales of the Dissolutionverse: a science fantasy series about planets connected by music-based magic instead of spaceflight where you can explore aliens, magic, and steampunk!

He currently has five books out, from a coming of age story, to tales of political intrigue, to a Sherlock Holmes-like mystery, to a Jules Verne style adventure, to the first book of his epic space opera, titled THE SEEDS OF DISSOLUTION. Several books include LGBT-friendly elements as well.

William is a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has a master’s in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has also trained in Wado-Ryu karate since 2003, and runs his own dojo in Raleigh NC. He is an avid video and board gamer, a reader, and of course, a writer.

In his spare time, he cosplays with his wife such combinations as Steampunk Agent Carter and Jarvis, Jafar and Maleficent, and Doctor Strange and the Ancient One. They also enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.

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

Steve Turnbull

April 19, 2019


It gives us great pleasure to welcome Steve Turnbull as the guest on Episode 212 – Try Playing It With The Other Hand!

Steve Turnbull, screenplay writer, novelist, poet and computer programmer joins us for a lively conversation about his many works.

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Books mentioned in this episode:

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Bio:

When he’s not sitting at his computer building websites for national institutions and international companies, USA Today bestselling author Steve Turnbull can be found sitting at his computer building new worlds of steampunk, science fiction and fantasy.

Technically Steve was born a cockney but after five years he was moved out from London to the suburbs where he grew up and he talks posh now. He’s been a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy since his early years, but it was poet Laurie Lee’s autobiography “Cider with Rosie” (picked up because he was bored in Maths) that taught him the beauty of language and spurred him into becoming a writer, aged 15. He spent twenty years editing and writing for computer magazines while writing poetry on the side.

Nowadays he writes screenplays (TV and features), prose and computer programs.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
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15Mar/19

Fessenden & Feeley

March 15, 2019

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Jamie Fessenden and Freddie Feeley, Jr back as the guests on Episode 207 – More Fun With the Creepy Scenes!

Authors Jamie Fessenden and Freddie Feeley, Jr team up to share with us their forthcoming horror novel, Borderlands, and what it was like to team up.

NOTE: Jamie accidentally said “bodega” in this episode. He caught it after the fact and knew he meant “botánica” – offering his apologies to anyone he confused.

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Bio:

Jamie Fessenden is an author of gay fiction in many genres. Most involve romance, because he believes everyone deserves to find love, but after that anything goes: contemporary, science fiction, historical, paranormal, mystery, or whatever else strikes his fantasy.
     Jamie set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010.
     After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis.
     Jamie recently left his “day job” as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.

F.E.Feeley Jr is married to his wonderful husband, John. He’s a father to their German Shephard, Kaiser. Freddie is an avid reader of Mysteries, Horror, and Suspense, and biographies. He’s also a gamer. His favorites include Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Trek Online, Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, and Civilization Five. He LOVES to cook and dives into trying new recipes (hint hint). He’s an avid music junkie from POPular music to Opera, to Showtunes, Gospel, Rock, Rap, and Hip Hop. Finally, he’s a Poet – a lot of which is offered on his site for free.
     As if that weren’t enough, he’s the author of six published works – four full length novels and two short stories featured in anthologies.

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

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28Jan/19

Power Surge by Sara Codair

Sara Codair was one of our lovely guests recently on WROTE. To find out more about them and find links to their work, check out Episode 194: Yeah That Happens!

Power Surge is Part 1 of the Evanstar Chronicles. Erin has a lot on their plate. Having recently come off meds for ADHD, they they think the visions they are experiencing are due to mental health problems. From being stalked by a sinister demon, to seeing fairies and pixies flitting in front of them, it isn’t surprising they think they are slowly going insane. Added to that, they are dealing with unfamiliar feelings for Jose, a childhood friend who has now become more than just a good friend, and at night they are haunted by nightmares. Also, there is the issue of being non-binary in a college full of jocks and prom queens, most of whom dismiss Erin as an ugly nobody, and family issues as well, as their previously close-knit family seems to be falling apart.

So it’s a lot to take in. Understandably, there’s a lot of description as at first, as we need to see inside Erin’s head to understand what they are going through. The balance of dialogue and prose is a little uneven, giving the story a slightly confusing start and this did mean my attention strayed a little, trying to grasp all these different conundrums and elements of Erin’s character. Having said that, the writing was incredibly good, and I really felt Erin’s dilemma as a young person trying to deal with the real world as well as what they assume is incipient madness.

The scene where they find out they are not alone, and Jose is right there with them, also seeing visions, is the best in the book in my opinion. I really felt their relief and joy. Until then, they had been keeping Jose at arm’s length, not wanting to inflict their problems onto him. They had been dealing with the bitchy girls in their social group, and feelings of isolation, so that scene was a wonderful moment.

There were also some gorgeous warm scenes with Erin’s family, and some really terrifying ones when the demons reveal themselves. Power Surge is a melting pot of young people’s issues, dealing with mental health, bullying, gender identity, family crises, superheroes who cannot fly and saving the world from imminent disaster.

Okay, so I didn’t connect with the book as much as I wanted to, mainly due to trying to process all these aspects whilst my brain was fried from dealing with Christmas, but that isn’t the author’s fault. This is a solid story of good v. evil, told by a narrator with vary real issues in a strange, creepy and sometimes beautiful world.

Finally, two things. First, the way they deal with mental health, not demonising it, but acknowledging it can really ruin a persons’ life, is brilliant and unafraid to say “look, this is just how it is sometimes, and it sucks.”

And second, the pronouns weren’t even an issue. Erin is non-binary, and the them/their pronouns sounded as natural as she/her or he/him do in 99.9 percent of fiction, This is an #ownvoices author who deserves recognition from readers of all genders.

BLURB

Erin has just realized that for the entirety of their life, their family has lied to them. Their Sight has been masked for years, so Erin thought the Pixies and Mermaids were hallucinations. Not only are the supernatural creatures they see daily real, but their grandmother is an Elf, meaning Erin isn’t fully human. On top of that, the dreams Erin thought were nightmares are actually prophecies.

While dealing with the anger they have over all of the lies, they are getting used to their new boyfriend, their boyfriend’s bullying ex, and the fact that they come from a family of Demon Hunters. As Erin struggles through everything weighing on them, they uncover a Demon plot to take over the world.

Erin just wants some time to work through it all on their own terms, but that’s going to have to wait until after they help save the world.


10Dec/18

The Golden One – Blooming by Hans M Hirschi

Blooming is the first book in the The Golden One trilogy, and gives the series a strong start. I’ve previously read Disease, and wasn’t sure what the author would give to an overcrowded fantasy genre filled with shapeshifters. Disease was a very different book – definitely worth a read, about a pretty gruelling subject.

Blooming is a book with a salutary warning, although it stops short of bashing the reader around the head with its message about human impact on the planet. And that’s why I enjoyed it. At no point I felt as if I were being lectured to, even though the message was clear. Big corporations have a responsibility not only to their shareholders but to the people affected by their activities, not only within their company, but in the wider world.

To reflect this, Hirschi has taken a group of teenagers and given them varying degrees of shapeshifting powers, controlled by the Ohana, The blurb describes it far better than I can so I’ll leave it there. Read it. It’s worth it.

Some members of the Ohana have a conflict of interest, but Mother Nature has also created the ultimate weapon in her arsenal, a golden butterfly with huge powers of persuasion. This time, it is the turn of Jason Mendez, an all-round nice guy who looks after his mother and doesn’t think his life will be very exciting at all, until he is told differently.

Then he realises he can talk to animals, and that’s where the story really took off for me. It was so enjoyable to read, within the bounds of a book written for older teenagers, yet devoid of the teen-speak that a lot of YA authors employ to connect with their readership. No patronising, no trying to get “down with the kids.” This is an intelligent book for discerning readers of any age, who love fantasy and remember the golden age of Spielberg and his epic stories of kids against “the man.”

Jason was extremely likeable. Not perfect, but that was good. It added angst at the responsibility thrust on his shoulders, and showed his character develop as he realised he had to make some important life decisions. His mother was also a great, believable character, with real-life problems many would identify with. There was a possible romance in the offing, and great friendships between people who, on the face of it, had nothing in common.

The ending was also a surprise, being unpredictable, and led neatly to the next book. No cliffhanger, which I liked, just a good, solid, rounded story which took time to introduce the reader to the characters and understand their world.

BLURB

Earth is threatened by humankind. A long time ago, in an effort to help protect her creation, Mother Nature created the Ohana, a worldwide league of shapeshifters, to restore and maintain the natural balance. During particularly troublesome times, she deployed her ultimate defense, a delicate yet powerful golden butterfly, to change the odds in nature’s favor.

Blooming is the first book in the trilogy about Jason Mendez, a seventeen-year-old living a normal teenage life in a small town in the American Midwest. One day, Jason’s world is turned upside down when he realizes the dream he had the night before was in fact reality and that he was flying through a nearby meadow.

Jason is the Golden One, called upon to avert a major crisis threatening Earth. With no golden butterfly sighted since the final days of World War II, will Jason be able to walk in his predecessors’ shoes? Will he be able to replicate their historic achievements and save the planet from all but certain disaster? And what exactly is threatening Mother Nature to call upon the Golden One?

The Golden One is an exciting new fantasy trilogy dealing with urgent topics affecting humanity today.