Author Interview with Casey Matthews

Today, I’m happy to introduce you to an author writes books that look like the daydream that every qualified nerd has had once upon a time. Check out the Pygmalion Fail series by Casey Matthews and take a short peek into this particular nerd’s brain!


Pygmalion Fail trilogyABOUT THE BOOKS

The Accidental God (Book 1): The world of Rune is just a series of fantasy paintings, or so Isaac Myers assumes; he’s even started adding some new art of his own to the seemingly abandoned project.

He learns better after a frustrating night of gaming with his best friend, Dak, culminates in a one-way trip to Rune itself—where fearsome creatures are intent on eating or otherwise destroying him, impractical armor keeps female warriors off the battlefield, and both a foppish overlord named Dracon and a masked samurai named Ronin (because of course) seem to think Isaac is terribly important.

Rune is real, all right. And it’s a damn mess.

Mistakes Were Made (Book 2) | Only Broken Things Are Free (Book 3)


“Real-life nerd ends up in fantasy world” is almost a trope in the realm of humor fantasy. What sets the Pygmalion Fail series apart?

I’d say it’s a staple trope — moreover, it’s super popular within the portal fantasy sub-genre. My series derives some of its humor from the fact it’s the protagonist’s own universe he falls into; it’s as much about a creator’s antagonistic relationship with his creations as it is about a nerd trapped in a fantasy world.

But Pygmalion is a cut above the average for its lightning pace and, as my editor put it, the “joyful spirit of invention” at the trilogy’s heart. The emotional center is really a bromance, the story of friendship between my protagonist — Isaac — and his best friend Dak. I think my book somewhat subverts the “power fantasy” trope where the hero becomes the most powerful, most important force in the world — not that Isaac doesn’t stumble across tremendous power, but this story is equally about the screw-ups he’s ultimately responsible for and the allies he relies on for their own unique strengths. This is a story about a guy who became a god very much by accident, and then has to learn he’s not the center of the universe. To that ends, there’s a lot happening in the allies’ subplots.  Continue reading

Author Interview with Jennifer Loring

Late last year I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a novella for a holiday anthology, “No One on Earth” (part of Starstruck Holidays). Today, I’m happy to revisit this sexy speculative fiction story through an interview with author Jennifer Loring.


no-one-on-earthABOUT THE BOOK

Jon, a psychic since childhood, has never felt at home in the world, even less so after his lover died on Winter Solstice a year ago. Since his abilities failed him when he needed them most, he turns to alcohol and rejects his family’s assertion that he is a Star Child—an alien/human hybrid. When Jon’s sister suggests he should look into the legend of Handsome Fellow, Jon decides that if he cannot find happiness himself, he will bring it to others.

Erukkass’ people, a species of interdimensional aliens, have been observing Earth and interacting with humans for so many centuries that some Native American tribes believe their ancestors originated from the stars. After his lover passed away in what appears to be a medical accident, he accepts a scientific mission… but not for the reasons his government expects. He has located his beloved on another timeline, in another universe—ours—and he will not leave without him.

Jon returns home from work one evening to find a gift of his own—a strange young man waiting for him. Erukkass unveils one stunning revelation after another, including the truth behind his lover’s death and the nature of time itself. Can he and Jon forge a future together, or will two timelines that have always intersected, no matter when or where, finally be forced to diverge?


The mixture of themes for the Starstruck Holidays anthology is pretty unique. Did you already have your story written, or did you write it specifically for the anthology call?

I wrote it specifically for the anthology. That’s not something I do very often, but the call intrigued me enough to give it a shot. Plus, I really wanted to write something about indigenous culture. It’s largely untapped aside from some of the more horror-oriented legends like the skin-walkers and the wendigo. Continue reading

Author Interview with Anna Zabo

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As part of the Daily Grind blog tour, I’m pleased to sit down with author Anna Zabo to talk writing, coffee, and fashion!


ABOUT THE BOOK

A man discovers that love can show up when you least expect it—and in a much different form—in this piping-hot romance from the author of Due Diligence and Just Business.

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N’At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn’t have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he’d become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob’s visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in.

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?

Ebook available at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Barnes and Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Audio book (read by Iggy Toma) available at:

Audible | Amazon | Tantor Audio


Daily Grind is book 4 in the series that began with Takeover. How is this book different from the previous books in the series? How is it similar?

It’s different in that it’s a little slower and sweeter than the other books. Not to say that it isn’t sexy…but Brian and Rob spend a lot of time on page getting to know each other. There’s also far less kink involved, and more exploration. There’s less tech, too, since the focus is on Brian’s coffee shop.

It’s similar in that all the books revolve around work and especially high-tech in some way. In this case, Rob is a CEO of a robotics firm. Brian, though not a geek, is a business owner. The person that ties all the books together is Sam. He’s been in every single one, and this one is no exception. Continue reading

Author Interview with Lew McIntyre

Today I’m happy to feature an interview with debut novelist Lew McIntyre. Besides my usual desire to support indie writers, I was intrigued by the unique premise of this historical novel and had to know more.


eagle-and-dragonABOUT THE BOOK

The Eagle and the Dragon takes the reader on an epic journey of thousands of miles by sea and land across three continents. When Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba is tapped to lead the first Roman mission to China, he anticipates an easy path to fame and fortune. Gaius Lucullus sees a bright military future, but his reluctant centurion Antonius Aristides would rather be somewhere else. Translators Marcia Lucia and her brother Marcus were taken from their village in China to serve the Han court, abused and despised, hiding a horrible secret. A notorious Arab pirate, with a Roman price on his head and crucifixion in his future, shadows the entourage, seeking the wealthy prize of their treasure-laden ships. But Fate has other plans for these unlikely companions, sending them together on a journey that will take them thousands of miles by sea and land across the tapestry of the mysterious worlds at the close of the first century. From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent Hanaean court, from the wild grassy steppes north of China to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains of Bactria, they fight for their lives, hoping to find the road that will lead them back to Rome.

Amazon


What was your biggest inspiration for writing a work of historical fiction that hasn’t seen much representation?

My current work in progress actually began in 1995 while reading an historical book, The Ancient Mariners, by Lionel Casson, which described the Romans reaching the court of China around 166 AD. Apparently the emperors even knew each other’s names, indicating previous contact. This set my imagination ablaze when I learned from other sources that this definitely  was not the first such expedition. I set out to write a short vignette on how two Roman soldiers, part of my fictional expedition in 100 AD, would find life in China so different in culture from their homeland. From that few pages was born The Eagle and the Dragon: A Novel of Rome and China. That same book, and others, gave me a grasp of the complex network of trading routes that spanned the Indian Ocean in that era, the sophisticated ships they built, and complex social, cultural and linguistic problems they would have to solve, and that kept the firing burning… basically at every step of the way, I had to ask myself, “Now what problems would I encounter doing that?” This was quickly followed by “Now how in the hell would I solve those problems with just first century tools at my disposal?” As I wrote this novel, it often seemed at times that I was taking dictation from my characters! It was a labor of love twenty years in the making. When I was finished, I read Rome and the Distant East: Trade Routes to the ancient lands of Arabia, India and China, by Raoul McLaughlin, which I read after I completed my work; he stated that the 166 AD mission was to seek the alliance of China with Rome against Parthia, modern day Iran and Iraq! This verified what I had hinted at was one far-fetched objective of my fictional mission, to determine if that could be a possibility, or if perhaps Rome should settle their differences with Parthia and ally with them against Han China! Continue reading

Book Release and Author Interview: SEVEN NOBLE KNIGHTS by J.K. Knauss

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Congratulations to author J.K. Knauss on the release of her historical fiction novel, Seven Noble Knights. I’ve had the honor of previously interviewing this author about her contemporary fantasy novel, so it’s fun to revisit and look at how the same author can have inspiration for completely different projects. Keep reading after the jump for more information about the book and purchase links.


Vengeful Ladies and Bloody Cucumbers: J.K. Knauss on Seven Noble Knights

Spain is not a common location for European historical fiction, considering the proliferation of fiction set in medieval/renaissance England and France. What drew you to tell a story set there instead?

I’ve inexplicably loved Spain since I was about ten years old. The four years between that and when I was “allowed” to start learning Spanish were the longest of my life. Some people say I was born in the wrong country. Something about the beauty and uniqueness of Spain latched onto me and never let go. If I start talking about what’s great about Spain, I may never stop!

You’ve previously published a contemporary fantasy novel, Awash in Talent. What inspired you to make the switch to historical fiction?

It’s funny how life works out. I wrote Seven Noble Knights first—Awash in Talent arose as a break from historical accuracy. Yet Seven Noble Knights is being published second.

I’ve always been a writer, and I also started an academic career in medieval Spanish literature. When I finished my PhD, I came up with a way to combine my great passions: historical fiction! I think the historical aspect was an inevitable bridge between those two worlds, because being an academic and being a writer have quite a bit else in common. (Need for solitude, need for readers, the need to be insane to try it…) Continue reading

Author Interview with Sheri Queen

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Today I’m taking a break from NaNoWriMo panic productivity to feature a new release from fellow urban fantasy author Sheri Queen! I haven’t read this novella yet, but so much about it intrigues me. It’s both an installment in a multi-author project and acts as an introduction to Queen’s own universe, the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series. Please enjoy the following interview with the author and check out more details about the book below.


How did you come up with the title for this book?

It’s my protagonist’s job—bounty hunter. I decided I wanted to separate my novel from the many other bounty hunter ones, so I came up with the gender switch of huntress. It worked.

Is there a message or theme in this story your want readers to be aware of?

There are several themes within the story, mostly about family and relationships, but the biggest one is that it’s okay to be different. Love who you are, and don’t let what others say make you think you’re not good enough.

Is this part of a series? If so, can you share a little about what’s coming next?

This is a short novel that’s part of a multi-author series, The Hotel Paranormal. Over twenty authors have penned their own paranormal story set in a common world—the Hotel. It’s been so much fun to do. Basically it’s a hotel set in an alternate dimension that’s a gathering place for paranormal creatures.

The Hotel Paranormal is the place for supernatural beings looking to get away from it all. Beings like werewolves, vampires, elves, sprites, djinn, and more check in from all over the world for business and for pleasure—and sometimes for both.

Also, I’m using this as an introduction to a new series I’m working on, the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series. The next novel will be out in 2017, although I don’t have a release date as yet. It will see Janda Gray take on her hunter role in earnest. She’ll have great joys and even greater sorrows as a Sleepy Hollow Hunter. Continue reading

Author Interview with A.M. Justice: Parallel Paths Redux

A few weeks ago, a lovely speculative fiction author contacted me out of the blue with an interesting proposal. She had stumbled across me on the Internet and thought it would be fun if we did a bit of cross-promotion since we had so much in common. She featured me with an interview on her blog and today I’m happy to return the favor! Check back here next Tuesday for my review of A.M. Justice’s excellent fantasy novel, A Wizard’s Forge.

How much do we have in common, exactly? Besides both being medical writer/editors and military brats, today we even discovered that we share the same wedding anniversary and are married to men with the same name!


As someone who also writes crazy genre-bending speculative fiction, I’m always interested in other author’s perspectives. What made you decide to introduce elements of science fiction in a story that could easily stand alone as high fantasy?

In my day job as a medical writer, I’m required to back up every statement with documented evidence. I want what we call an evidence base to exist in my fiction too, because I like to understand why things happen. Setting A Wizard’s Forge on an alien planet rather than a fantasy world allowed me to give the humans who live among weird creatures like the Kragnashians a “documented” reason for being there. It also allowed me to let my imagination run wild and invent whole new species, rather than populate the world with elves, dwarves, and the other usual suspects of fantasy. Finally, a science fiction setting lets me play with science and religion as belief systems as Vic, the atheist, argues with her religious friends about human origins.

The next book, A Wizard’s Sacrifice, dives deeper into some of the science fiction elements. Readers will learn the biological nature of Vic’s power, which involves neurological parasites called the Woern. The fact that wizardry comes from an infection has major implications for Vic’s developing romance with Ashel, as well as her relationship with his family members. In fact, how the Woern are transmitted and their beneficial and negative effects on people is a main plot driver in Sacrifice. Readers will also see the Devices used a lot more, and will glimpse something of the nonmagical origins of these transporters. There will be a lot more interaction with the Kragnashians, Knownearth’s indigenous and highly intelligent giant insects, and lastly, there will be time travel! Continue reading

Author Interview: Jessica Knauss

Awash in TalentI was delighted to interview author Jessica Knauss in support of her new novel, Awash in Talent (now available in ebook and hardcopy).

About the Book

So much Talent can kill you.

Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island, home of telekinetics, firestarters, and psychics!

Emily can’t escape her annoyingly Talented telekinetic healer sister without committing a crime.

Kelly must escape her pyrokinesis school and bring Emily’s sister to Boston—her mother’s life depends on it.

Appointments with Emily might drive her psychic therapist insane.

With so much Talent, sometimes it’s all you can do to function in an un-Talented society.


When you first told me about this novel, you referred to it as “zany, hard-to-pin-down” and “Gilmore Girls with a paranormal twist.” As someone who also writes urban fantasy that defies categorization, I’m always interested in other authors’ reasons for doing the same. Why break away from the YA paranormal comfort zone that most readers are familiar with?

I don’t assign genres or categories to my work until it’s done and ready for readers. This can cause some head scratching, believe me! Many years ago, I heard Maya Angelou say that if we can’t find the book we want to read, we have to write it ourselves. I took that advice to heart. If something has been done before, why do it again? As a reader, I’m always searching for something different that will speak to me in a way nothing else has. I’ve set my sights on that elusive uniqueness as a writer. Continue reading

Parallel Paths Interview with AM Justice

And then there was that awkward moment when my doppelganger on the Internet reached out to me…and turned out to be a lovely person. Speculative fiction author AM Justice says it best:

Once in a while you run across a kindred spirit on the Internet, someone whose life has followed a path similar to yours. Such is the case with former military brat, cat lover, medical editor, and scifi/fantasy author JL Gribble. She and I even gave our protagonists similar names (hers is Victory, mine is Victoria). After that, however, JL’s highly imaginative Steel Empires series bears little resemblance to my work.

You can find the rest of the interview about my books at her blog, Journeys Through Time.

wizard's forgeDespite all of the similarities that we bring to the writing table, Justice’s first book in her Woern Saga, A Wizard’s Forge, is a hero’s journey through a high-fantasy landscape. Or is it? Just like my series is a strange mix of blended genres, Vic’s tale also includes tantalizing hints of hard science fiction.

You can learn more about the Woern Saga in an interview with author AM Justice available here soon, and definitely check back  for a review of A Wizard’s Forge that will be posted on launch day, September 19. The ebook is currently available for preorder, and I encourage everyone who loves Victory and Toria to take a chance on Vic as well. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Giveaway!

To conclude my interview series, Calico in Conversation is hosting a scavenger hunt through each of my interview segments. If you’ve been reading carefully, you have a chance to win ebooks of BOTH Steel Victory and Steel Magic in the format of your choice! Go here to see the questions and find the entry form.

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