Category Archives: Guest Post

Blog Tour: Ada Palmer Guest Post

Ada Palmer

Author Ada Palmer joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about the world from her latest release Too Like The Lightning!

Too Like the Lightning: A World of Diaspora

The flying cars on the cover of my science fiction novel <em are more than just a promise that this will be a classic, energetic science fiction setting, with dazzling futuristic cities reminiscent of golden age SF. They’re also the center of the political system in my version of the 25th century. This future is linked together by a system of flying cars so fast that you can commute from anywhere on Earth to anywhere else in two hours, close enough to bring the whole planet into practical commuting distance.

Imagine if such a system came in as suddenly as smart phones, and within a few years it came to be effortless to commute from continent to continent. There would be political and even military consequences (we hear about that phase of history in the background of the story), but it’s easy to see how it would also revolutionize lives, and families. No one would have to choose where to live based on a job anymore, since you could in Bermuda, work in Tokyo and lunch in Paris while a spouse or roommate worked in Buenos Aires and you met for dinner in Antarctica. It’s easy to imagine the real estate upheaval as people rush to buy homes to the most beautiful and exciting parts of the Earth, but that generates another political consequence: a world of expats.

With these flying cars, suddenly living in another country wouldn’t be any impediment to still working and socializing primarily in your birth nation, and a huge portion of Earth’s population would suddenly start living in another country. Or is it really living in another country when you spend only a third of your time there, another third working in a second country, and the rest having fun in every corner of the Earth? And what about children born of parents who are Japanese but bought a home on the French Riviera to grow the view? This happens today with expat couples and immigrants, but if the flying car system came in it would suddenly happen to half or more of all the children in the world, within a generation.

This is the birth of the world of Too Like the Lightning, a world of diaspora, in which all cultural groups are spread all around the Earth, and living in the region where your ancestors lived is the exception, not the rule. It is a world of diaspora, much like the world of the internet where we have friends scattered around dozens of cities, and many of our most important relationships are unrelated to geography. In this 25th century, nations as we know them—geographic nations—are a thing of the past, since now that virtually no children grow up in a place that corresponds to their languages and cultures, a fully mobile global population finds it absurd that, in the olden days of people were governed by the laws the splotch of dirt where they happened to be born. Instead, as part of coming of age, young adults choose freely among several globe-spanning borderless nations, selecting the ones whose culture, policies and ideology are most personally appealing. Adults live by the laws of their chosen nations no matter where on Earth they reside, and what is legal or illegal in one house may be completely different from the house next door, depending on the choices of the family.

This world of diaspora is a fantastic place to explore political interaction, and especially cultural interaction. When you start Too Like the Lightning you’re plunged into a whirlwind mix of different races and languages, a detective from Alexandria investigating a break-in in Chile affecting a family with Chinese, Indian and Mestizo members and political effects on Japan and Paris. But this isn’t an exotic jet-set, this is normal life in this world of diaspora, when there are no majorities anywhere on Earth, just dozens of minorities mixing coequally in every space. It’s an amazing plunge, and an amazingly dynamic space in which to see how one mystery can sweep through and touch every corner of such an interconnected world.

About the author:
Ada Palmer is the author of the recently released sci-fi novel Too Like the Lightning and a professor in the history department of the University of Chicago, specializing in Renaissance history and the history of ideas. Her first nonfiction book, Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. She is also a composer of folk and Renaissance-tinged a capella music, most of which she performs with the group Sassafrass. Her personal site is at adapalmer.com, and she writes about history for a popular audience at exurbe.com and about SF and fantasy-related matters at Tor.com.

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

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Chris Howard joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about what super power he would chose to have and what he would do with it…

Pick your own super-power!?

If I could have any super-power at all?! Whoa. For a long time, I’d have said “flying”. Kinda obvious… but, come on, flying! How awesome?! But we all kinda know how that would work. So I’m gonna mix it up and say the super-power I pick is… the “ability to freeze time”.
Right?!

I’d love this. Heck, I’d never run late again! Well, I would run late, because I always seem to push it so I can get more things done before I set off wherever it is I’m trying to go, but now I’d just freeze time, and go zipping through the static world (on my bike, I guess, or I could just walk because there’d be no hurry). That’s the beauty of this super-power… there’d never be any hurry. At all.

So let’s think about this…

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

A Truly Horrifying Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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Lori Goldstein joins SciFiChick.com today to share her High School Horror Story on this stop of Chandler Baker’s blog tour!

Lori Goldstein’s High School Horror Story

Here’s the thing about horror stories. Sometimes, it’s all about perspective.

What seems like a huge deal at the time might not be all that horrific in hindsight and vice versa, something that is entirely de rigueur might come back to bite you in your older keister.

My older keister has a big chunk missing. Because of this.

Lori Goldstein Photo 1

Permed, teased, curling ironed, I owe my high school horror story to a monster can of Aqua Net.

But it’s not really my fault. See, I grew up in New Jersey. And if you don’t know anything about New Jersey, think Jon Bon Jovi pre haircut.

Lori Goldstein Photo 2

I’m not looking so bad now, right?

Living in the shadow of New York City, we Jersey girls had to find ways to stand out. Or in this case, up. Way, way up.

Flipping through my high school albums proves it wasn’t just me. We were all doing it. That doesn’t make me want to whisper, “the horror, the horror” any less.

Though there was one benefit. For once in my life, I easily clocked in at five feet without heels.

Bio:
Born into an Italian-Irish family (hence the short temper and the freckles), Lori Goldstein grew up in a small town on the Jersey shore and now makes her home outside of Boston in a place close enough to the ocean that on the right day, she can smell the sea from her back deck, and yet it still takes an hour to get to the beach. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before embracing her love of fictional people. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, out now; Circle of Jinn, May 17, 2016). When not writing or reading (preferably from a sandy local), Lori can be found chatting books and perfecting the art of efficient writing through Twitter (@loriagoldstein). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com, Tumblr and Instagram: lorigoldsteinbooks.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoriGoldsteinAuthor, and Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/LoriGoldstein


Courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Publishing, I have a copy of Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 5. I’ll draw a name on February 6, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading A Truly Horrifying Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Blog Tour: Monsterland Guest Post

Monsterland Blog Tour Header Image

Self-Publishing Versus Traditional: A Discussion with Award-Winning Author Michael Phillip Cash

Self-publishing versus traditional. It’s a question every writer faces at some point or another. For me personally, I’ve never even bothered submitting a manuscript to a traditional publishing house. First off, I’ve heard horror stories. Just with marketing, after your book comes out and it’s marketed as best as they can, they no longer market it any further. My book Stillwell is out four years already, and it’s still a best seller on Amazon, all because my team continues to market it to different audiences.

I am a huge believer in the self-publishing model. Yes, could traditional houses get you into Costco and Wal-Mart…the answer is yes. However, a friend of mine from high school was published through Simon and Schuster. His book came out 10 years ago and he has 30 reviews on Amazon. My book Witches Protection Program has 160 reviews, and it’s been out for 4 months.

If you are just starting out, I say self-publish. You have control over your work. Hire a good marketing team, a social networking guru and a publicist. Concentrate on writing excellent stories and have your team market the hell out your brand. Also, get familiar with the differences between traditional and self-publishing. Read A.P.E. – Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. It’s the bible for Self-Publishing that I live by.

About the Book

Monsterland Michael Phillip CashMonsterland

Written by Michael Phillip Cash Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Monsterland contains solid ingredients for a horror feast: stupid teens, smart teens, a little challenged romance, family dynamics, action, blood and gore. Will civilization ever be normal again? You’ll have to read it to find out. We dare you!”—The Children’s Book Review

Ages 14+ | CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform | 2015 | 978-1517180676

Add this book to your collection: Monsterland

Available Here:

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About Michael Phillip Cash

Michael Phillip CashMichael Phillip Cash is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He’s written eleven books including the best-selling Brood X, Stillwell, The Flip, The After House, The Hanging Tree, Witches Protection Program, Pokergeist, and Battle for Darracia series. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island. He writes full-time with his screaming monsters in the background. Website | Facebook | Twitter

Monsterland Tour Giveaway

Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash | Giveaway

Would you rather be a werewolf, a zombie or a vampire? Enter to win an autographed copy of Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash; plus a living dead themed travel mug and a $50 Amazon gift card!

Giveaway begins November 14, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 16, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST. US addresses only.

Monsterland Tour Dates

Thursday November 12 2015
The Children’s Book Review

Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway

Tuesday November 17 2015
The Review Wire
Book Excerpt from Monsterland

Tuesday November 24 2015
SciFiChick.com

Guest Post written by Michael Phillip Cash

Tuesday November 17 2015
Suz Reviews

Author Interview with Michael Phillip Cash

Sunday November 29 2015
The Cover Contessa

Guest Post written by Michael Phillip Cash

Tuesday December 1 2015
DCC Mealy

Author Interview with Michael Phillip Cash

Wednesday December 2 2015
Once Upon a Twilight

Book Excerpt from Monsterland

Saturday December 5 2015
The Fairview Review

Monsterland Book Review

Tuesday December 8 2015
Just Another Mom

Monsterland Book Review

Monday December 14 2015
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monsterland Book Review

Tuesday December 15 2015
Inspired by Savannah

Author Interview with Michael Phillip Cash

Author Guest Post: Gerrard Cowan

My Experiences as a Debut SFF Author
by Gerrard Cowan

The day I got my book deal is one that will stay with me forever. I remember I was sitting in work, minding my own business, when my phone buzzed. I looked down, and there it was: an email from HarperVoyager, saying they wanted to publish The Machinery.

I came into publishing through a slightly unusual route: the HarperVoyager Digital Submissions programme. This was launched back in October 2012, and allowed writers without agents to submit their novels to the publisher. I had finished writing the book about three months earlier, and had been firing it off to various agents, with little success. I thought, ‘what the hell,’ and sent the book in.

I honestly did not expect to get it. My thinking, rightly or wrongly, was that I could use the experience to judge how good the story and the writing were. If HV knocked it back straight away, I would think it needed a lot more work, but if it got quite far along, I would know I was onto something, at least in the eyes of this publisher. But then I got that email, and I almost fell out of my chair. That is not a joke.

So what’s the experience been like? What have I learned? It’s been overwhelming, exciting, and educational. It’s also been a lot of hard work. I probably shouldn’t boil it down to a handful of key points. But I will.

1) SFF writers are fantastic …

I have heard before that publishing is a fiercely competitive, dog-eat-dog world, where it’s each person for him or herself. OK, yes, of course it’s competitive, like all professions. But other writers are amazing. I’ve befriended a fair few through social media, and they have always helped me out with queries, from the mundane to the complex. That also goes for writers at the very top, many of whom offer opportunities for new authors to blog on their site: John Scalzi is a good example. The SFF writing world is a welcoming place.

2) … and so is the wider SFF community.

Honestly, if you’re a new writer or you aspire to be one, reach out to bloggers and journalists in the SFF world. You couldn’t find a nicer bunch. They really care about the genre, and welcome anyone new with open arms, in my experience.

3) The art of editing

I’ve only had one book go through the editing process, so I might not be the best to judge, but I’ve found it a great experience. My editor made suggestions – never orders – and they really made a big difference to the book. More than anything, they got me thinking about the story in a way I hadn’t before, and led to me making some pretty big changes that I think made it much better. Editing is a real art.

4) You have to let go

Editing is great, but it can take over your life. You have lived with this book for a long time: seven years in my case, from the day I first had the idea to the day I sent in the final proof. When it’s just you and your novel, you can tinker away at your leisure. When there’s a deadline hanging over you, things get more serious; you find yourself flicking through pages late at night, staring at the same sentence for the ten thousandth time, worrying about characters and descriptions and even individual words. But there comes a point when you have to let it go out into the world, to see what others make of it. That’s coming for me soon, and I feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. I imagine the second book will be very different and I won’t be quite so obsessive. I hope not, anyway.

5) You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover … but …

One of the great things about releasing your book through a publisher is the cover they make for you. OK, everyone knows the old saying about covers and judging, and it is of course absolutely correct. But they are important, particularly in this digital age where they have to look good in a tiny thumbnail. I didn’t really have anything in mind for mine, and was delighted with what they came up with. The Machinery follows a society whose leaders are chosen by an omnipotent machine, but there’s a prophecy that claims the next leader selected will bring ruin to the world. The cover they went with shows a mysterious figure, bathed in a spectral light. I loved it, and would probably have tattoed it to my forehead by now if it weren’t for SOCIETY, man.

So overall, I’ve found only upsides in being a new writer. Obviously I would love my books to do as well as possible, but even if everything was to fizzle out from here, I’ve very much enjoyed it so far. I’ve made great friends and I’ve learned a lot. The main thing I would say to people who have just got a book deal, or who are working towards one, is this: listen to the experts. Things might not go exactly as you expect, but if you have good people on your side, they will probably go better.


The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan is available on ebook now, and paperback in 2016.

Exclusive Author Guest Post: Katherine Harbour


VINTAGE ‘80S FANTASY: FEMALE WRITERS
by Katherine Harbour

The 1980s, for me, was the perfect decade for fantasy, and not just because that’s when I discovered it as a teen (fantasy, not the ‘80s). I’d already read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Oz books, and Peter Pan. When I was nine, I’d picked up The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe from a library shelf and opened it to the illustration of the White Witch about to sacrifice Aslan, and hastily set it back on the shelf because it looked too scary.

The first fantasy book I bought was Riddle of the Wren by Charles de Lint. The Secret Country by Pamela Dean followed, then Barbara Hambly’s Time of the Dark.

I was hooked.

Glancing at my bookshelves, I am surprised to see that most of the books are by female writers. Many of them are books I bought in the ‘80s. I didn’t seek out women writers—it just happened. Here are some of my favorites:

C.J. Cherryh is known mostly for her SF, but it was her fantasy books—The Tree of Swords and Jewels, Rusalka, The Books of Morgaine, and the swashbuckling Angel With the Sword that I loved. All of them had strong female characters.

Tanith Lee wrote some strange dark fantasies, otherworldly or contemporary. Her characters were archetypes made human and I found her writing language lyrical and dazzling. The Silver Metal Lover was the first SF book I ever read. Her Secret Books of Paradise were disturbing. The Flat Earth series was mesmerizing. And her retellings of classical tales—Sung in Shadow (Romeo and Juliet) and Red as Blood (fairy tales) made me want more.

Nancy Springer’s Books of the Isles blended elves and an almost Arthurian romance mythology with brutality and grim reality. (Also, one of the characters on the cover of The Silver Sun resembled Matt Dillon, whom I had a raging crush on at the time.)

Judith Tarr. Once again, elves! Only the elves in The Hound and the Falcon existed in history, incorporated into the chaotic time of the Crusades. They were dangerous and beautiful and more human than some of the humans they dealt with. She also wrote a series called Avaryan Rising, about empires, young kings, and magic.

Jennifer Roberson’s unique Chronicles of the Cheysuli books were about a tribe of shapechangers inspired by Celtic and Native American culture.

Sheri S. Tepper’s whimsical and darkly original world of The True Game was the setting for her tales of young Peter the shapeshifter and Jinian Footseer.

P.C. Hodgell wrote one of the best trickster anti-heroines I’ve ever read in her Godstalk series, set in a fantastical, Dickensian land of dark magic, old gods, and warring clans.

Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint series was romantic and also very Dickensian, combining intrigue, swordfighting, and sexy, damaged characters.

Jane Yolen’s fairy-tale fantasies, like Briar Rose, some modern and some traditional, were classical and elegant.

Anne McCaffrey. Dragons! Bonding with dragons! Dragonriders! Sex! (Not with dragons.) But my favorite books were the YA DragonSong, DragonSinger, and DragonDrums.

Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni Chronicles novels were set in a world similar to England’s era of The War of the Roses, where magic is considered illegal and a magical race called Deryni must tread carefully. There were betrayals at every turn and a young man seeking to be a good king.

Barbara Hambly’s books about another world, beginning with The Time of the Dark and continuing with The Ladies of Mandrigyn and Dragonsbane, were medieval and amazingly detailed, filled with dangerous magic (I loved her scholarly outlaw wizards), horrifying creatures, and some awesome dragons. There was the added bonus of two people from our world being dragged into that fantastical realm.

Terri Windling’s classical fantasies. She also co-edited the Bordertown series about the Elflands returning to the modern world. It was brilliant, and is still being carried on nowadays. Faery and Elfland in our world was a popular theme in the ‘80’s, with Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks and Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock.

There was also Andre Norton, Louise Cooper, Patricia McKillip, Janny Wurtz, Joan D. Vinge and I’ve probably left out others.

I do wish more of these writers could be found in libraries and bookstores. They were the writers I spent my teen years with, lost in a variation of extraordinary worlds, with fascinating characters. They’ve been read again, and consulted, and skimmed through. They were the stories that made me want to create other worlds and the people who inhabited them. And they’ll always have a place on my bookshelf.


Katherine Harbour (author of Thorn Jack and Briar Queen)
www.katherineharbour.com

Book Giveaway: Voyagers

Courtesy of Random House Books for Young Readers, I have a copy of Voyagers: Project Alpha by D. J. MacHale for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends September 25. I’ll draw a name on September 26, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Voyagers

FORBIDDEN Blog Tour: Cathy Clamp Guest Post and Giveaway!

Logic in Urban Fantasy – Making the Unreal seem Real
by Cathy Clamp

Urban fantasy has become such a popular subgenre of fantasy because it takes our real world and imposes fantasy elements into it—allowing heroes and/or heroines to use their humanity to solve otherworldly problems. It’s fun for readers to vicariously live through the characters, who have to deal with things like monthly rent, sucky jobs and annoying families. Plus, when the real world gets involved, so does the reality of legal red tape, smart cops who can also figure things out, and physics. Nothing can be more frustrating to a paranormal hero/ine than to be outsmarted at their own game. So they have to be smarter, quicker and more dangerous than those around them. Anything that keeps the characters on their toes makes it all the more fun for the reader. But it also keeps us authors on our toes, which isn’t as much fun.

See, it’s much easier to set a story in a paranormal reality because we don’t have to answer annoying questions, like “why” and “how” things happen. But in the Sazi shapeshifter reality, featured in both my new book FORBIDDEN, and the Tales of the Sazi series that preceded it, is stuck square in the middle of our current world, so I can’t escape asking . . . and answering, all the tough questions.

What sort of questions? Here are a few that were dealt with early on that have served the characters well:

How could a shapeshifter really exist today, when there are cameras everywhere, social media rules the world, and persistent people go out of their way searching for weird things?

Answer: Well, it’s tough to be Sazi. No question. When the full moon rises, a shifter has to shift and hunt. Fortunately, people are still people. They’re a tad self-absorbed and if given a little incentive, will avoid an area. What sort of incentive? Well placed growls coming from a darkened path certainly help send people the other way. And who hasn’t avoided an area when the hairs rise on the back of your neck for no apparent reason? Maybe there is a reason. A little well-timed aversion magic can change the route home.

How do shifters find other shifters when everyone stays hidden?

Answer: Scents, of course. Just like dogs and cats and wilder animals, shifters have uncanny noses. Every person has a personal scent, and a wolf can smell where another wolf has been. Or a cat, or a bird or a snake. The nose knows. Even emotions have scents to the Sazi. Fear is a jaw tightening scent that smells a lot like Worchestershire sauce. Open a bottle and take a deep whiff. Feel that sensation at the back of your jaw? Makes you want to bite down on something, doesn’t it? Happiness smells like bursts of citrus, and if you lie? Oh, they know from the smell of black pepper that seeps from your pores.

A human shifting into an animal would have density issues, or at least size ones. How could people not notice a bird or snake the equivalent size of a human?

Answer: Predators are BIG. Great cats dwarf standard size humans, weighing upwards of 200 pounds, birds can have wing spans of 8 feet, pythons have been found that eat humans for lunch, and even wolves can weigh around 125 pounds. And with a little misdirection, plus speed and shadows, a person wouldn’t think anything other than, “Damn! That was a big cougar!”

Wouldn’t people notice if one particular person was always missing on full moons? For years on end? The excuses would eventually run out and cause suspicion, right?

Answer: Sure. Absolutely. Without a really good reason, people would definitely notice. But what if the shifters worked for family businesses? Multi-generation owned businesses are the heartblood of commerce. And people in small towns in rural areas might all stay and live there for a very good reason.

Believability. That’s what it takes to make an urban fantasy story come alive to a reader. Ask the hard questions, and then answer them with sound logic, and the reader will come along for the ride. Dive into FORBIDDEN. Smell through the nose of a shifter, feel the snow on your fur and the tickle of dangerous magic in the air. Come along for the ride!


Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of ForbiddenForbidden by Cathy Clamp for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends September 11. I’ll draw a name on September 12, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading FORBIDDEN Blog Tour: Cathy Clamp Guest Post and Giveaway!