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

April Wrap-Up & May Goals

You know that saying, about how the best way to get something done is to ask a busy person?

Yeah, apparently I need to be that busy person.

Broadkill beach selfieDid I get everything done that I set out to do this month? Nope. But I did a bunch of other cool things, like see my little sister’s final college dance performance, attend my first Orioles game of the season with my best friends, escape for a weekend to Broadkill Resort, and participate in the March for Science in Washington, DC! On the work front, I also had the pleasure of beta-reading the next novel in one of my favorite series.

April Wrap-Up:

  • Alas, there is no fully detailed outline to book 5 yet. Book 5 doesn’t even have a name yet (ugh, I know). I have lots of notes, and lots of crazy ideas. I’m feeling really overwhelmed by this book for some reason, so it’s taken more than usual to scrounge up the time and effort to sit down and COMMIT to taking the time.

April Book Reviews:

April Speculative Chic Contributions:

May Goals:

  1. Finish final revisions to Steel Time and submit to my editor.
  2. Start organizing the blog tour to celebrate the release of Steel Blood this summer.
  3. Outline book 5…?
Science March

I may be a medical editor by day, but what else would a fantasy author wear to the March for Science? With friends Karrie and David outside the EPA.

STEEL BLOOD cover reveal contest announced!

The amazing cover artist for the Steel Empires series, Brad Sharp, did such a fantastic (fang-tastic?) job on the cover for Steel Blood that my publishers and I couldn’t decide between them! So we’re leaving it up to all of you with a vote. Head over to Raw Dog Screaming Press’ website to choose your favorite cover.  (Note: No registration necessary to cast your vote.)

Here’s an excerpt to tide you over, of Victory being badass (as she is).  Hopefully you’ll be intrigued enough to go check out the full version and let your voice be heard. There’s no unhappy ending to this election! So vote early, vote often, and tell your friends to do the same!

Steel Blood cover excerpt

And if THAT wasn’t incentive enough, the back cover text of this novel is also available on the voting page. Find out what Victory and Mikelos have been up to during the events of Steel Magic!

March Wrap-Up & April Goals

NYC March 2017

My first time to the Empire State Building!

I’m having one of those awkward moments where I feel like I got absolutely nothing accomplished all month, even though I still managed a lot. Perhaps it’s because everything that did happen was all toward the first 2/3 of the month (such as trips to Ohio for Cleveland ConCoction and New York City for the day job), and for the past week I will gleefully admit to not doing very much at all. 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

February Wrap-Up & March Goals

steel-empires-at-awp

Steel Empires classing up the joint at AWP.

Whew, this month flew by (and not just because February is a short month). While things continue to be rough and stressful in the larger scheme of things, I’m pleased with what I accomplished in my own small corner of the world, and I’m looking forward to whatever is next.

I’d also like to take a quick moment to thank all of you. I have no way to tell how many of the subscribers to this blog are here because they are fans of my writing, here to follow my book reviews and my support of other authors, or both. Earlier this month I did a two-part holiday special, giving some details and background info on two of the romantic pairings in my books. I held my breath in case of negative feedback in the case of Kane and Archer — but absolutely none came! Thank you for being awesome, being accepting, and loving my guys as much as I do.

Okay, enough mushy stuff. Let’s get to work. Continue reading

Author Interview with Anna Zabo

DailyGrind_Blog_tour.png

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

Holiday Romance Special Part 2: Victory & Mikelos

SteelVictoryARC_cov.inddAs promised, the husband and I shared a delicious meal of Indian food in front of the TV last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We watched another few episodes of The Grand Tour and then went to bed early.

Today actually marks 8 years since we officially started dating! Not because of the holiday, but because in 2009 I had agreed to pick him up from the airport after a 2-week class in California, and he had a Valentine’s Day bouquet delivered to my apartment that morning as a thank you.

But you’re not here for my sappy love story. You’re here for the much more interesting one between Victory and Mikelos, who were introduced in Steel Victory. Vampire and daywalker will return for their own adventure this summer in Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood, but for now, here’s some backstory and behind-the-scenes info to tide you over.

How and why did they meet?

After the drama (and trauma) of the Last War, Victory settled in Limani with her progeny Jarimis. She helped Jarimis’ daywalker open a bar, supporting Allesdandra’s dream. One day, in walks a human man she recognized from back in Europa, a former concert violinist.

For 200 years, Mikelos had lived as the daywalker to his musical partner, the vampire and cellist Connor. When Connor disappears without a trace, he leaves his old life behind, escaping into anonymity in Limani. Or so he thinks.

When Mikelos is mortally wounded defending Allesandra, Victory turns him back into a daywalker to save his life. Continue reading