Guest Post: “Worldbuilding PIMP MY AIRSHIP” by Maurice Broaddus

BroaddusM-AuthorPicI’ve often told the story of how the short story “Pimp My Airship” started as a joke gone awry on Twitter. When the story was actually requested, I had to build a world. The main criticism the story received was that there seemed to be a lot of world that the reader barely gets to see in the five-thousand-word story. When I fleshed out the origins of the Star Child, it led to the novelette “Steppin’ Razor”; and a throwaway line about “the Five Civilized Nations of the northwest territories and the Tejas Free Republic” led to the novella Buffalo Soldier. I won’t lie, the criticism still followed me. Perhaps they had a point about how much world I can compact into a story. That’s because my favorite part of the writing process is worldbuilding since that’s when I really get to play. For Pimp My Airship, I allow myself plenty of room to build out my world. Its creation centers around three areas: Continue reading

Interview with GEORGE MANN

manng-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is George Mann?

Hello! I’m a novelist and scriptwriter, based in the East Midlands, and I’ve been writing professionally for over ten years now. I’m a former publisher and, before that, a bookseller, so I’ve always been lucky enough to work with books.

Your next novel, The Revenant Express, will be published by Titan in February. The fifth book in your Newbury & Hobbes series, it also marks the 10th anniversary of the series. Congratulations! How would you introduce the novel and series to a potential reader?

Thanks! The Newbury & Hobbes series is very close to my heart. I see it as a Victorian Fantasy/Mystery series, with a little dash of the occult. Anyone who likes the idea of a lovechild of Steed & Peel from the Avengers, Hammer Horror, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who should find something to enjoy in the stories! Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BLACK GOD’S DRUMS by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-BlackGodsDrumsThe cover for P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums started doing the rounds online a little while ago. (I’ve also seen that reviewers are starting to receive ARCs, so reviews should start appearing soon, too.) Due to be published by Tor.com in August 2018. I haven’t read any of Clark’s previous work, but I have high hopes for this, given how interesting it sounds:

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air – in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

The novella “brings an alternate New Orleans of orisha, airships, and adventure to life”, and has been described by Scott Westerfeld as “A sinewy mosaic of Haitian sky pirates, wily street urchins, and orisha magic. Beguiling and bombastic!” That’s a pretty great endorsement. Looking forward to giving it a try. The Black God’s Drums will be published on August 21st, by Tor.com in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with MAURICE BROADDUS

broaddusm-authorpic2Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Maurice Broaddus?

A husband of one, a father of two, and an author of nearly a hundred short stories and the urban fantasy series, The Knights of Breton Court. I live in Indianapolis where I do a lot of community development work, finding ways to use writing/art to improve neighborhoods and protest. I keep my faith simple (love God, love people, don’t be a dick). And I binge watch a LOT of television.

Your new novella, Buffalo Soldier, will be published by Tor.com in April 2017. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series? 

It’s set in the steampunk universe that I created for my story “Pimp My Airship.” In this universe, America lost the Revolutionary War and remains a colony of England. Buffalo Soldier is a stand alone sequel to my novelette, Steppin’ Razor (published in Asimov’s Magazine). Set in a Jamaica which was never a colony of England and thus flourished, an undercover agent, Desmond Coke, gets drawn into a web of political intrigue when he stumbles across a young boy, Lij. As it turns out, Lij is a clone of Haile Selassie, a messiah figure to the Rastafarians, who the government plans to raise as their puppet to control the people. Desmond frees the boy and goes on the run. In Buffalo Soldier, the pair is on the run through the United States of Albion, searching for a place to call home. Continue reading

Interview with BARBARA BARNETT

barnettb-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Barbara Barnett?

Chicago-based author-blogger-editor Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics Magazine.

Always a pop-culture and sci-fi geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to the tragic antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature. (In other words, Spock, not Kirk; Han Solo, not Luke Skywalker!) It was inevitable that she would have to someday create one of her own (like Gaelan Erceldoune!). She’s always been a bit quirky and is happy to admit she’s managed (with her soul mate of a husband Phillip) to raise two geeky children of her own (sorry, Shosh and Adam, you never had a chance!).

She is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA’s HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as “The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture,” “The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes,” “The Hidden History of Science Fiction,” and “Our Passion for Disaster (Movies).” This autumn, she will reprise her MENSA appearance with “The Conan Doyle Conundrum.” Continue reading

Guest Post: “How a Fourth Book is Really the Beginning of a New Series” by Clay & Susan Griffith

GriffithC&S-AuthorsPicTHE GEOMANCER: The Return of the New Vampire Empire

Hi. We’re Clay and Susan Griffith, authors of the Vampire Empire books and the Crown & Key trilogy. Our newest book, The Geomancer (November 3, Pyr Books), is the latest in the Vampire Empire novels. It’s the fourth book we’ve written set in that world, but it’s the first book in a new ongoing “Gareth and Adele” series. The original Vampire Empire was a trilogy. It was conceived and executed as a trilogy. By the end of the third book, we brought the major storylines to a close and tied up most of the questions. The characters had developed over the course of three books. We proudly considered the story done and moved on to other projects.

Only it didn’t quite work out that way. Continue reading

Review: KAREN MEMORY by Elizabeth Bear (Tor)

BearE-KarenMemoryUSAn interesting Weird West adventure

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Hugo-Award winning author Elizabeth Bear offers something new in Karen Memory, an absolutely entrancing steampunk novel set in Seattle in the late 19th century — an era when the town was called Rapid City, when the parts we now call Seattle Underground were the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes bringing would-be miners heading up to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a “soiled dove,” a young woman on her own who is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house — a resourceful group — and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts into her world one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, seeking sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap — a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

This is the first novel by Elizabeth Bear that I’ve read. Lauded far and wide, throughout the SFF online community, I had very high hopes for Karen Memory, a weird Western adventure/crime story. It mostly lived up to them. There’s much to like in the novel, certainly, but there was one consistent thing that didn’t work for me. Nevertheless, it’s quite an enjoyable read. Continue reading